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Rediff.com  » Sports » Champions League: Barca wary of Juve; Cahill 'itching' to face Qarabag

Champions League: Barca wary of Juve; Cahill 'itching' to face Qarabag

September 11, 2017 23:29 IST

Barca keeper Ter Stegen wary of Juve's Dybala

Marc-Andre ter Stegen

IMAGE: Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen during media interaction. Photograph: FC Barcelona/Facebook

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is wary of the danger posed by Juventus forward Paulo Dybala ahead of their opening Champions League Group D clash on Tuesday.

 

Dybala struck twice in Juve's 3-0 aggregate quarter-final win over Barca last season and is set to start at the Nou Camp.

"He's a player that has a lot of quality... what we can see from outside is that he still wants to improve, he's a player who can make the difference," Ter Stegen told a news conference on Monday.

Argentine Dybala has scored seven goals in four games for Juventus this season, including a hat-trick against Genoa in Serie A on Aug. 26.

Lionel Messi

IMAGE: Barcelona’s Lionel Messi during training session. Photograph: FC Barcelona/Facebook

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde agreed that Dybala posed a threat but was also concerned with Juve's power as a team.

"He's an important player in his team, in Europe and in the world, we know that," said the coach. "But so are (Gonzalo) Higuain, (Miralem) Pjanic and (Andrea) Barzagli.

"I fear Juventus for their consistency, what they've done, how they play, that's what worries me about the team."

Cahill 'itching' to face Qarabag after frustrating season

Gary Cahill said he is "itching" to play in Chelsea's Champions League opener against Qarabag on Tuesday after a double dose of frustration for the England defender.

The club skipper is set to return at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday having been kicking his heels since being sent off 14 minutes into Chelsea's shock opening day Premier League defeat by Burnley, resulting in a three-match ban.

Last season Cahill, along with his Chelsea team mates, had to watch the Champions League from the sofa after failing to qualify when they finished a woeful 10th the season before.

He will need no firing up the against the Champions League debutants from Azerbaijan.

"I'm delighted to be back available for selection, I'm itching to play and getting back involved with the rest of the squad," Cahill, who did play two games for England in that period, told a news conference on Monday.

"It's been frustrating for me being out. But it's about the team doing well and they've done alright."

The match will have added meaning for Cahill after being forced to watch the competition on television last year owing to Chelsea's 10th place finish in the 2015-16 season.

"We feel we're back where we belong. Which is amongst some of the very best teams and we're looking forward to testing ourselves. Everyone realises that was a freak season for us.

While Qarabag look like being the whipping boys of Group C, Chelsea's other opponents are seasoned European heavyweights Atletico Madrid and Roma.

"It's a difficult group, but that's the calibre of teams you're coming up against the Champions League," Cahill, part of the Chelsea side that won the tournament in 2012, said.

"But we're more than capable of competing at this level. As a group it'll be interesting to see how we get on. We have quality throughout this squad, but we're looking forward, we're excited by this competition.

"We're excited to be back involved. It's the biggest stage to be involved in in club football."

Source:
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