Spartak Moscow – FC Barcelona: Three golden points up for grabs (match preview)

Barça - Spartak Moscow
18.00, Canal+ Champions League: Barça will clinch qualification to the round of 16 if they defeat or draw with Spartak Moscow

Barça have a golden opportunity to qualify for the next round of the Champions League this evening. Despite losing away to Celtic FC two weeks ago, the first team will be in the round of 16 if they draw or win against Spartak Moscow. It won’t be easy. The freezing temperatures and the artificial turf at Luzhniki Stadium are two factors to keep in mind in addition to the quality of Unai Emery’s men.

Barça have never lost a match in Russia. In their past six visits, they’ve won once and tied five times. On this occasion, the manager Tito Vilanova will be able to call on Sergio Busquets, who missed the team’s last two Champions League matches due to a two-match ban, but the manager will not be able to field Marc Bartra, who picked up an injury on Sunday. As far as statistics go, David Villa is on the verge of reaching a major milestone. The forward is just one goal away from reaching the 300-goal mark in his professional career.

Emery’s men on high alert

Spartak Moscow’s hopes of reaching the next stage of the competition hang by a thread. The Russian’s sit at the bottom of the group with three points. A defeat to Barça would leave them out of Europe. Despite their 3-2 defeat at the Camp Nou, the Muscovites played a well-organised game and nearly secured a point.

The Russian team’s manager will be missing the likes of Romulo, McGeady and Bylyaletdinov, while Ananidze and Welliton are both doubtful. Emenike, however, is fit to play and he’ll undoubtedly be the target man for Spartak.