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UEFA Champions League: Manchester City vs Barcelona preview

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Manchester City hosts Spanish Champions Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday after getting battered 4-0 at Camp Nou a fortnight ago. The loss has left Pep Guardiola’s City facing a battle to qualify from Group C for the Champions League last-16 having also been held to a draw by Celtic.

And ahead of the mouthwatering clash, Guardiola stated the game against Barcelona needs to be treated like a final.

"I think we know what we have to do to beat them and hopefully our quality up front will make a difference,’’ said Guardiola.

"We have to play in that way - like a final. It's not a final for them, it is a final for us. There are just three games left and we dropped two points in Glasgow, so we have to recover those points in the next two games.

"We have to be focused for 90 minutes, knowing they are going to provoke mistakes because of the quality they have,’’ he added.

City head into the game having ended a six-match winless sequence with an emphatic 4-0 defeat of West Brom at the weekend.

Barcelona, on the other hand, edged past a resolute Granada side in the weekend.

Barca boss Luis Enrique on facing Man City said: "It will be an encounter of identical philosophies, similar to what we saw at Camp Nou.

"We will have to put in a big effort - be effective with and without the ball. The key will be to limit their thinking time, so that they do not have time in possession. We aim to keep the pressure high and try to make City attack as little as possible.

"I am sure that Guardiola knows the key to making things difficult for us.

"In three months he has managed to make his team identifiable which is certain to grow. Every month that passes, the immediate future of Manchester City is promising," he added.

For hosts, full-backs Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna are both set to miss the match with injury, while midfielder Fabian Delph is also unavailable with a muscle problem. Sergio Aguero is expected to start for City on Tuesday after his brace against West Brom.

Willy Caballero will start in goal for City, with first-choice Claudio Bravo suspended after being sent off in the 4-0 loss in Spain.

The visitors, meanwhile, will key men Andres Iniesta, Gerard Pique, Jordi Alba and Aleix Vidal due to injury. Enrique will welcome the return of Turkey international Arda Turan, while hat-trick hero Lionel Messi is also available.

Barcelona have won all five of their previous encounters with City; conceding only twice. City suffered their heaviest Champions League defeat when these sides met in the reverse fixture, conceding four goals for the first time.

It is tough to make a call despite Barcelona being heavy favourites, but one thing for sure, the game will witness a goal-galore at Etihad.

Tune into Ten 2 and www.tensports.com for live streaming the match between Manchester City and Barcelona on Wednesday from 00.30am.  

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