Glasgow Rangers visit the Nou Camp which is in a state of grace after the crushing victory over troubled Betis at the weekend and the reappearance of a once lost Ronaldhino. The Brazilian star seems to have finally woken up and shaken off is lethargy this week and put in a great performance to silence the growing number of critics.
Both teams are level on points in group E of the Champions league so a win for either should definitely be enough to see the victor through to the next round. Coach Frank Rijkaard plans to put all his big guns together from the whistle which won’t be good news for the Scots, who are going to have to try and contain the afore mentioned Ronaldhino along with Thierry Henry who is finally beginning to score goals and not to forget the ever impressive Leo Messi, who will be out to cut Rangers’ defense to pieces.
Rijkaard’s main doubt is the Italian Gianluca Zambrotta, who picked up an ankle injury during the Betis match. In his place if he doesn’t make it on time will be captain Carles Puyol –who played in that position at Ibrox Park- or less likely Oleguer Presas. The goalkeeper will as always be protected by Victor Valdes, who is yet to let a goal in this season in Champions league football.
Rangers are clearly the underdog in this match and coach Walter Smith knows it. If he goes out for a draw it could well be over at half time, and will I think prefer a launch an all out attack from the off in the hope of catching the Spanish team off guard. Barcelona’s history of games against Scottish opposition at the Nou Camp isn’t good. Of the three matches played they have just got two draws. They have never beaten a Scottish team at home in an official European game. I wonder if Walter Smith knows that.
As much as I’d like to see Rangers win here, I doubt very much whether it will happen. Barcelona this season at home are pretty formidable, and it is going to take a better team than Rangers to beat them on home turf.
Prediction: Home win (2-1)