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Barcelona evoke 1997 Cup thriller before Atletico clash

20 January 2015, 21:38

Barcelona - Barcelona have sought inspiration from one of their greatest King's Cup nights as the players prepare for their quarter-final, first leg at home to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

The La Liga rivals met in a last eight, second leg in Spain's domestic Cup competition on March 12, 1997 after drawing 2-2 in the first leg at Atletico's Calderon stadium.

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The return at the Nou Camp, with the late Bobby Robson in charge of Barca and current coach Luis Enrique in the side, started abysmally for the home side, with Atletico opening a 3-0 halftime lead thanks to a Milinko Pantic hat-trick.

With Barca 5-2 down on aggregate, Robson brought on forwards Hristo Stoichkov and Juan Antonio Pizzi at the break and the team began the fightback with two goals from Ronaldo.

Pantic struck again to make it 4-2 on the night but another Ronaldo strike and a stunning Luis Figo volley tied the score at 4-4 and Barca completed a remarkable turnaround when Pizzi's late winner sealed a 7-6 aggregate success.

Barca posted highlights of the game, played in an electric atmosphere at Barca's giant arena, on their website (www.fcbarcelona.es) on Tuesday under the headline "A 5-4 for the history books".

Luis Enrique, who took over at the end of last season after Barca failed to win major silverware for the first time in six years, urged the club's fans to fill the stadium on Wednesday and said their contribution would be key.

"I would encourage the supporters to come to the Nou Camp to get behind the team," the former Spain midfielder told a news conference on Tuesday. "We will be stronger with them there."

Barca captain Xavi should be available after shaking off a calf injury but defender Jeremy Mathieu, who has an Achilles problem, is out, Luis Enrique told reporters.

Barca, the record winners with 26 Cups, last triumphed in 2012, while Atletico, who lost 3-1 at the Nou Camp in La Liga this month, won most recently in 2013 for their 10th success.

Villarreal or Getafe await in the semi-finals, while on the other side of the draw Malaga play Athletic Bilbao and Sevilla take on Espanyol.

- Reuters


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