Atletico Madrid v Barcelona: Andres Iniesta likens Champions League quarter-final to the 'battle of Stamford Bridge'

'This game has something of the Chelsea semi-final about it,' says Barca player who scored the decisive goal against West Londoners in 2009 Champions League clash

madrid

Andres Iniesta plays his 500th game for Barcelona tomorrow night, hoping to relive one of his greatest career moments: scoring in the last minute at Stamford Bridge to beat Chelsea and reach the Champions League final in 2009.

Barcelona will need Iniesta's magic touch more than ever; they have failed to beat Atletico Madrid in four attempts so far this season, scoring only twice, and a 0-0 scoreline after 120 minutes would send the home team through on away goals after the first leg finished 1-1 at the Nou Camp.

"This game has something of the Chelsea semi-final about it," said Iniesta. "They are similar rivals who close down the space on the pitch and make it very uncomfortable for the opposition."

The Barcelona midfielder, who was outstanding in the first leg, has scored only 50 goals in those 499 games so far, but Barcelona have never lost when he has found the net. "I hope that record continues, but I also hope that things go well enough not to need a last-minute goal as we did in London," he said.

Barcelona's failure to beat Atletico Madrid in the four matches this season – two goalless draws and two 1-1 draws – have all come with Lionel Messi failing to score past Chelsea's on-loan goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois. No one has conceded fewer goals in the Champions League than the Belgian keeper, who also has the best record in La Liga.

Although their defensive strength is not in question, Atletico's staying power has been doubted in recent weeks. If there was a team for whom Jose Mourinho's "small horse" tag is appropriate then it would be Atletico Madrid, whose squad has nowhere near the depth of their domestic rivals Barcelona's and Real Madrid's.

Of the 10 players who have played most minutes this season in Spain, seven of them are Atletico players. One of those is Diego Costa, who started the first leg but came off midway through the first half and is doubtful for tomorrow night's game. He was listed in the squad Atletico coach Diego Simeone has already named, which did not include the injured Arda Turan.

"If he is out it's a big loss for them," said Xavi. "He gives them an out ball, and he works the central defenders so well because he is so quick and strong, he is a vital player."

Underlining the importance of Costa, Simeone said: "He does for us what Ronaldo does for Madrid and Messi for Barcelona." Simeone added that he would play the striker if he was only 90 per cent fit.

"Barcelona are specialists in scoring goals," added the Argentinian coach. "They scored four just down the road from here." The reference was to Barcelona winning the recent league Clasico 4-3.

Iniesta scored in that win but has never done so in the Vicente Calderon stadium. With Barça facing Champions League elimination before the semi-finals for the first time in seven years, tomorrow night would be a good time to get his first.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen
Satya Nadella: As Windows 10 is launched can he return Microsoft to its former glory?

Satya Nadella: The man to clean up for Windows?

While Microsoft's founders spend their billions, the once-invincible tech company's new boss is trying to save it
A Very British Coup, part two: New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel

A Very British Coup, part two

New novel in pipeline as Jeremy Corbyn's rise inspires sequel
Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Philae lander data show comets could have brought 'building blocks of life' to Earth

Icy dust layer holds organic compounds similar to those found in living organisms
What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist? Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories

What turns someone into a conspiracy theorist?

Study to look at why some are more 'receptive' to such theories
Chinese web dissenters using coded language to dodge censorship filters and vent frustration at government

Are you a 50-center?

Decoding the Chinese web dissenters
The Beatles film Help, released 50 years ago, signalled the birth of the 'metrosexual' man

Help signalled birth of 'metrosexual' man

The Beatles' moptop haircuts and dandified fashion introduced a new style for the modern Englishman, says Martin King
Hollywood's new diet: Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?

Hollywood's new diet trends

Has LA stolen New York's crown as the ultimate foodie trend-setter?
6 best recipe files

6 best recipe files

Get organised like a Bake Off champion and put all your show-stopping recipes in one place
Ashes 2015: Steven Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Finn goes from being unselectable to simply unplayable

Middlesex bowler claims Ashes hat-trick of Clarke, Voges and Marsh
Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... for the fourth time

Mullah Omar, creator of the Taliban, is dead... again

I was once told that intelligence services declare their enemies dead to provoke them into popping up their heads and revealing their location, says Robert Fisk
Margaret Attwood on climate change: 'Time is running out for our fragile, Goldilocks planet'

Margaret Atwood on climate change

The author looks back on what she wrote about oil in 2009, and reflects on how the conversation has changed in a mere six years