La Liga: Barcelona Look To Continue Top Form Away At Athletic Club


(MENAFN- IANS) Madrid (Spain), March 2 (IANS) FC Barcelona will look to maintain their La Liga title hopes alive when they visit Athletic Club's San Mames Stadium in Bilbao on Sunday night.

Barca go into the game on the back of their best performance of the season as they won 4-0 at home to Getafe last weekend, while Athletic Bilbao is in a state of euphoria after Thursday night's 3-0 win at home to Atletico Madrid which booked their third Copa del Rey final appearance in five years.

The talk in Bilbao over the past 24 hours has all been about the club's chance to lift the Copa del Rey for the first time in 40 years, and coach Ernesto Valverde has to get his players focused again for Sunday, reports Xinhua.

Athletic will miss the pace of winger Nico Williams after his red card against Betis last weekend, although Alex Berenguer has shown he is an able replacement.

Central defender Davi Vivian is also suspended, with Yeray Alvarez returning to the team, while Inigo Lekue will continue at left-back as Yuri recovers from a hamstring problem.

The Basque side beat Barcelona 4-2 in the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey and Thursday's game saw them extend their winning run in San Mames to 10 matches.

Although Barca's home form has been poor, they are unbeaten away from home this season.

Xavi Hernandez has no new injury worries, with only long-term absentees Ferran Torres, Alexandre Balde, Gavi and Marcos Alonso on the sidelines, and his main decisions will be who to play in central defense and on the right on their attack.

Xavi also has to decide between Raphinha and Yamine Lamal on the right of his attack as he tried to moderate the effort of his players ahead of their vital Champions League tie against Napoli.

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