Clasico rivals ready for Copa semi-final

BARCELONA and Real Madrid both welcomed key men back to full fitness as the clubs prepare for Tuesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final second leg at Camp Nou.

The tie is delicately poised after a 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu but Barca, who have Adriano available for selection following a thigh injury, are strong 4-9 favourites with Ladbrokes to qualify for the final and the Catalans are at 7-10 to retain their Copa del Rey title.

Xabi Alonso and Karim Benzema both took part in Real Madrid’s final training session ahead of the second leg. Real Madrid are 7-2 with Ladbrokes to win the Spanish Cup and bet365 make the Whites 2-1 to reach the final.

The teams also meet in the league on Saturday before Real Madrid head to Manchester United on March 5 and Jose Mourinho said he cannot wait for the make-or-break fixtures.

Mourinho said: "They are matches that we all like and that everyone wants to play. I like them. I prefer matches of this magnitude to others where there is nothing at stake. So we are ready to play."

Match in Focus

12:45 TODAY BT1

Newcastle v Liverpool

Home Win Draw Away Win
Key stats
  • The last time this fixture produced a goalless draw was in 1974, 64 meetings ago
Expert verdict
This pair have produced some classics down the years and six of the eight meetings since Newcastle returned to the top flight for 2010-11 have finished with over 2.5 goals. The teams have kept just four Premier League clean sheets between them and Newcastle's recent form suggests they can give Liverpool a decent contest.

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