Barcelona big guns return for Supercup fightback

21:41, August 20, 2010      

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Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola will be able to count on his star players as his side looks to win its first trophy of the season this Saturday night.

Spain' s World Cup fixture in Mexico 10 days ago meant that Guardiola was unable to pick any of the eight Spain internationals in his squad for the first leg of the Spanish Supercup last Saturday.

Players such as Xavi Hernandez, Gerard Pique, Carles Puyol and Pedro Rodriguez had not trained with the Barcelona squad since the end of the World Cup in July and were in no condition to play.

Meanwhile Leo Messi, who had played with Argentina the same day as Spain was in Mexico, saw his appearance limited to that of a second half substitute as a Barcelona side filled with B-team players lost 3-1 to Sevilla.

That result leaves Guardiola' s men needing to win Saturday' s return leg by 2-0 in order to lift the first silverware of the new campaign.

Although the Barcelona coach is bound to be cautious with some of his key players, some look certain to start. Messi will lead the attack, while Andres Iniesta, who is several days ahead of his companions in terms of preparations, also looks likely to play a key part in the game.

Victor Valdes returns in goal, while Gerard Pique insists that he is in condition to play at the heart of the defense, where he will probably accompany Gabi Milito.

Sevilla meanwhile has seen its position alter in the past seven days. Wednesday' s 1-0 defeat to Sporting Braga in the Champions League qualifying round first leg has put the club' s place in Europe at risk. Antonio Alvarez' s side needs to overturn that result next Tuesday and Alvarez will now rest key players to ensure they are 100 percent fit in midweek.

Veteran striker Freddy Kanoute, who scored twice last weekend, will stay in Sevilla along with Brazilian midfielder Renato. Luis Fabiano could also be rested, while Sebastian Squillaci is on the verge of completing a move to English Premier League side Arsenal.

Saturday promises to see a full Camp Nou Stadium as Barcelona goes on the attack, while Sevilla will hope the pace of Jesus Navas and Diego Capel will allow them to steal what could be a vital away goal.

Source: Xinhua


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