Messi, Suarez out for Barcelona as Athletic seek Cup revenge

Barcelona, Jan 19 (IANS) FC Barcelona will be without strikers Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi when they travel to Athletic Club Bilbao’s San Mames Stadium for the first leg of their Spanish Cup quarter-final on Wednesday.

The game is a repeat of last season’s final, which Barcelona won 3-1 and comes just three days after the Catalan football giants defeated Bilbao 6-0 in the La Liga at the Camp Nou stadium, reports Xinhua.

However, Sunday’s result should have little relevance for a game which was over in the fourth minute when Bilbao were reduced to 10 men after Gorka Iraizoz was sent off for committing a penalty and Messi had put Barcelona 1-0 ahead with 86 minutes remaining against a side with a player less on the pitch.

Bilbao’s players commented after that match that Sunday would be different with Messi having a muscle problem and Suarez suspended.

Bilbao will also have striker Aritz Aduriz fresh and available after missing out at the weekend and a packed house to make life a lot more hostile for the Cup holders.

The other quarter-finals see Celta Vigo entertain league leaders Atletico Madrid on Wednesday night, while Thursday sees Sevilla entertain second division Mirandes and Valencia try to forget their league woes at home to Las Palmas.

The return legs are the following week.

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