Copa del Rey: Atletico walking tight rope at Barca
Copa Del Rey By: Ambrose Udeme | 07/02/2017
Barcelona hold a 2–1 aggregate advantage as they look to deliver a knockout punch at home for the fourth straight round and continue down the path to a rare Copa del Rey three-peat.Luis Enrique's men will on Tuesday hope to vanquish visiting Atlético Madrid and continue their chase for a third straight Cup title.Team NewsWith the mid-winter calendar ushering in a stretch composed of, arguably, the season’s most crucial matches, not only in the Copa del Rey, but also the UEFA Champions League and La Liga, there’s no time to rest. The team trained on Sunday morning in a recovery session aimed at turning the page from Saturday’s 3–0 home league win over Athletic Club to Tuesday’s all-important knockout match. Monday was the team’s first and last session fully dedicated to their impending Cup clash.Two players Rafinha (broken nose) and Neymar (yellow card accumulation) have already been left out for Tuesday's tie. Midfielders Sergio Busquets (ankle) and Andrés Iniesta (calf) are yet to get the green light to return to action, but they did train on Monday and it remains to be seen whether they will be included in the squad.The names of both Arda Turan and Denis Suárez were floated as possible replacements, although the coach was loath to reveal just how he would fill Neymar’s shoes for fear of tipping his hand to his counterpart, Diego Simeone.Form GuideBarcelona are undefeated since 5 January, when they dropped their opening match of 2017, a 2–1 loss at Athletic Club in the first leg of the last 16. Since then, the Catalans have harvested seven wins and two draws from an alternating schedule of La Liga and Copa del Rey fixtures, including home return-leg knockout blows to Athletic Club followed by Real Sociedad in the quarterfinals. The hosts' most recent game was a 3–0 La Liga triumph over Athletic Club on Saturday at Camp Nou.Atlético Madrid also won in La Liga over the weekend, dispatching visiting Alavés 2–0, at the Estadio Vicente Calderón on Saturday evening. Last week’s 2–1 first-leg loss to Barcelona at the Calderón snapped what had been a five-game unbeaten streak which included two wins in a row followed by three straight draws.