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Malaga v Barcelona

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La Rosaleda: Home to Malaga

La Rosaleda: Home to Malaga

Malaga will host a Barcelona side looking slightly more vulnerable than they did a week ago in the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final at La Rosaleda on Thursday evening.

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Barcelona need to overturn a 2-2 result to advance to the semi-finals after drawing at Camp Nou a week ago, despite only playing against ten men for most of the match.

They then followed up that stalemate with a 3-2 Primera Liga loss at Real Sociedad on Saturday, showing their first signs of vulnerability after a lengthy period of sustained dominance.

The visitors will be without coach Tito Vilanova, who is receiving more medical treatment in New York, but do boast a full-strength squad after the return of Isaac Cuenca, who has recovered from a knee injury.

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta also said the team had refocused and put itself "on alert" after the Real Sociedad loss - their first League defeat of the season.

"We are going with the conviction that we will win on Malaga's field and that we will be in the next round," Iniesta said.

"Of course it is possible (we won't). We are taking on a team with great players playing at home with two away goals in hand, but we have never contemplated being eliminated."

Malaga, meanwhile, will be confident of another strong showing after following up their Copa del Rey performance against Barcelona with an impressive 1-1 draw in La Liga at home to Celta Vigo.

They will, however, be without the services of Nacho Monreal after he was sent off in the first leg for a foul on Pedro.

Having impressed with a weakened side against Vilanova's men in the first leg, coach Manuel Pellegrini should recall the likes of Isco, Joaquin, Welligton and Martin Demichelis.

New loan signings Lucas Piazon from Chelsea and Diego Lugano from Paris Saint-Germain may also be included in the Malaga squad.

Posted: 23/01/13 13:32

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