Last chance hotel for Barca at Old Trafford

Manchester United enjoy home advantage over Barcelona tonight as they bid to secure a place in the Champions League final after last week's goalless first leg at the Camp Nou. For the Catalans, Europe's top prize is the last trophy available.


The Champions League duel between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi resumes on Tuesday when Manchester United host Barcelona in the second leg of their semi-final at Old Trafford.


Messi edged the first round at the Nou Camp last week as Barcelona, enjoying the king's share of possession, had United on the back foot although they may live to rue a lack of goals in the 0-0 draw on their home ground.


United fans will be hoping for a more decisive performance from Ronaldo, who could have had a huge impact on the tie from the third minute but missed a penalty and faded to play a lesser role in United's workmanlike, mostly defensive performance.


Ronaldo, who has scored 38 goals this season, has not found the net in United's last three games although he was only a substitute in the 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Saturday that left the two sides level on points at the top of the Premier League with two matches to go.


He believes home advantage and the Old Trafford crowd will tilt the balance.


"Our fans are always fantastic, but over the last month they have been amazing," he told the club's television channel MUTV. "I hope it carries on like that in the remaining games particularly against Barca."


Barcelona have not scored in their last three matches, including the 2-0 defeat at Deportivo Coruna on Saturday although coach Frank Rijkaard rested Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Xavi.


Third in the Primera Liga, the 2006 European champions played with their minds on Old Trafford and the only trophy they can win this season.


Defender Lilian Thuram told reporters: "I'm sure it will be different in Manchester. I can't explain the difference in attitude but that's just the way it is."


Rijkaard is without the suspended Rafael Marquez but captain Carles Puyol returns to reclaim his place in the centre of defence from the Mexican.


United have injury concerns over central defender Nemanja Vidic and striker Wayne Rooney though both should be available.


Probable teams:



Manchester United: 1-Edwin van der Sar; 6-Wes Brown, 5-Rio Ferdinand, 15-Nemanja Vidic, 3-Patrice Evra; 7-Cristiano Ronaldo, 4-Owen Hargreaves, 18-Paul Scholes, 11-Ryan Giggs; 32-Carlos Tevez, 10-Wayne Rooney


Barcelona: 1-Victor Valdes; 11-Gianluca Zambrotta, 5-Carles Puyol, 3-Gabriel Milito, 22-Eric Abidal; 6-Xavi, 24-Yaya Toure, 20-Deco; 19-Lionel Messi, 9-Samuel Eto'o, 8-Andres Iniesta


Referee: Herbert Fandel (Germany)

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