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24.04.2008 13:43

Encouraging signs

Anna Segura

In their three previous visits to Old Trafford, FC Barcelona have obtained a result on two occasions that if repeated next week in the Champions League would see them through to the final this time.

The Blaugrana travel to England next Tuesday for the second leg of their semi final against the Red Devils after the first encounter between the two sides ended goalless.

Two out of three

BARxA-MANCHESTER_1998_010.jpgBarça last played at Old Trafford nine years ago in the 1998-99 season in the group stage of the Champions League and the match was a thriller as it ended 3-3. If the game next week also ends with that incredible scoreline then Frank Rijkaard's team will reach the final on the away goals rule.

Four years before in the 1994-95 campaign, the teams also met in the Champions League on the third day of the group stage and the match ended in a 2-2, which would also suffice this time around.

One result that Barcelona do not want to repeat is the European Cup Winners' Cup game in 1983-84 when United won 3-0 to go through to the next round after losing 2-0 in Camp Nou.

Goalless history

In Europe, Barça have only ever drawn 0-0 at home in the first leg of a knockout tie. That came in the 2000-01 season when the Blaugrana met Liverpool in the UEFA Cup semi finals and were then beaten 1-0 at Anfield by a penalty.

fcb-manchester_x9x.jpgManchester United also do not have a very good record when the first game has ended goalless. The last three times that this has happened to them they have been beaten twice in the second leg with Monaco in 1997-98 and Real Madrid in 1999-2000 winning at Old Trafford.
Encouraging signs
Matching records
Going into the Champions League semi final on Wednesday, both Barcelona and Manchester United had exactly the same statistics in this season's competition and that record remained intact after the goalless draw. Next Tuesday will finally see the two teams separated if the game does not go to penalties.

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