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Spanish beasts Barca to edge Atletico in Nou Camp battle

All three head-to-heads between Barcelona (Champions League third-favourites at 7/2) and La Liga rivals Spaniards Atletico Madrid (16/1) this season in all competitions have ended in low scoring draws. Coral give odds of 3/1 for the spoils to be shared again.

The last two fixtures were goalless – one in La Liga and the other in the Spanish Super Cup second leg – and enticing odds of 12/1 say no side will score in this quarter-final match-up at the Nou Camp. A price of 7/1, meanwhile, is given for a 1-1 draw – the other result between the two sides this campaign.

Despite these very dull showings this season when the duo have faced each other, the previous six battles all went in Barca’s favour. It is understandable, then, that the four-time European Cup winners are odds-on at 4/7 for victory in this first leg.

Although the Catalan giants are favourites to win, in La Liga they are second in the table and one point behind leaders Atleti. Diego Simeone’s side don’t look likely for victory here, however, with odds of 11/2, as they failed to win on their last nine visits to the Nou Camp – losing seven.

The obvious duel that everyone will be waiting for is between prolific goalscorers Lionel Messi and Diego Costa, but the latter is now a doubt after injuring his knee in training.

If the Brazilian-born Spain international is out, then that will put Barca in even better stead to win, with majestic main man Messi in fantastic form.

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored eight in five Champions League games this season (third-favourite for Golden Boot at 7/1), and has netted 15 in his last 10 La Liga matches. If that was not enough to tempt you to put your money on him, Messi has a total of 20 goals in his 19 appearances against Atletico. Back him odds-on to get a goal anytime at 1/2, or 7/4 for a brace or more.

Away side Atletico will definitley be without Raul Garcia and Javi Manquillo, while keeper Victor Valdes misses the rest of the season through a knee injury. Alex Song and Jonathan Dos Santos, meanwhile, are major doubts, but veteran defender Carlos Puyol and Pedro return to the squad.