Neymar confident of leading Barcelona to second miracle comeback
The Brazilian scored Barcelona’s 4th & 5th goals in the last 16 second leg, setting up the sixth too, as they won 6-1 to progress 6-5 on aggregate.
BARCELONA – Barcelona striker Neymar is confident the Catalans can launch another remarkable Champions League comeback as they look to overturn a 3-0 quarterfinal deficit against Juventus on Wednesday.
Just as they had done in the previous round, when Barcelona overcame a 4-0 first-leg deficit to eliminate Paris St Germain, the Spanish giants will be relying on Neymar to produce another magical performance if they are to reach the semifinals.
The Brazilian scored Barcelona’s fourth and fifth goals in the last 16 second leg, setting up the sixth too, as they won 6-1 to progress 6-5 on aggregate.
If Barcelona are to do the impossible in the quarterfinal as well, after losing 3-0 in Turin, they will need the winger to be at his electric best.
Neymar should be well rested after missing Barcelona’s 3-2 win over Real Sociedad on Saturday, the first of three matches he is suspended for in La Liga, including next Sunday’s Clasico.
Having been sent off in the team’s 2-0 defeat at Malaga and hit with a longer ban after sarcastically applauding the fourth official, he has a point to prove in the Champions League.
“We have to believe we can do it,” said Neymar in an interview with Brazilian television channel Esporte Interativo.
“The other day my father told me one thing which has stayed in my head, and I think it’s true. In front of us, we have a different team, but Barcelona is the same. And we can do it.
“We did it once and we can do it a second time. We have to give our absolute maximum. If everything goes well, there will be another comeback.
“I believe in the team and in our power. Everything is lost (already), so we have nothing to lose and everything to gain.”
Although Neymar will return for the clash, Barcelona are likely to be without Javier Mascherano, who did not train on Monday due to a calf injury, as well as long-term absentees Aleix Vidal and Rafinha.
Juventus forward Paulo Dybala, who scored twice in the first leg, was taken off with an ankle injury as they won 2-0 at Pescara on Saturday, but is expected to be fit to play.
Defender Georgio Chiellini watched Neymar and co. dismantle PSG in the previous round and is wary of the threat the Catalans pose.
“We need to be compact and show no fear. (Barcelona) are like sharks who scent blood and finish you off. We’ve got to keep them as far away from our goal as possible,” he told Sky Italia.
If former Barcelona defender Dani Alves can keep his friend and compatriot Neymar at bay like he did in the first leg, Juventus should be able to book their place in the semifinals.