Monday, December 11, 2017

Barcelona v BATE: Bravo stakes claim for permanent spot

SoccerNews in La Liga 2 Nov 2015

Claudio Bravo has admitted he is unhappy with Barcelona’s goalkeeper rotation policy as the Champions League holders prepare to face BATE on Wednesday.

Luis Enrique favoured the Chile international in La Liga last season but reserved the European matches for Germany’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen, and he has continued the same system in 2015-16.

Ter Stegen, however, came under fire for conceding goals against both Roma and Bayer Leverkusen and has already conceded 17 times from nine games in all competitions so far this season – one more than he let in during the whole of last term.

Barca kept a clean sheet in a 2-0 win away to Getafe on Saturday with Bravo in goal and the former Real Sociedad man is now pushing to keep his place in continental competition.  

“If I tell you that I’m happy [to be rotating], I’d be lying, but I take it calmly because I know what my role is,” Bravo said to TV3.

“It’s not my decision and we have to respect the coach. When we play, we have to compete and do our best.”

BATE extended their lead to 12 points at the top of the Belarusian top flight with a 1-0 win over Dinamo Brest at the weekend but head coach Aleksandr Yermakovich is concerned by a lack of cutting edge as they prepare to travel to Camp Nou.

“This season, we are destined to win 1-0. I lost count of the times when we finished with this score,” he said following their fourth 1-0 win since August 18. 

“We created a lot of opportunities to score more.

“The level of organization of play was quite high on our side, but finishing was not impressive.”

Long-term absentees Rafinha and Lionel Messi (both knee) miss out, as does defender Douglas (foot), but Andres Iniesta is back in action after recovering from a hamstring strain picked up against Bayer Leverkusen.

BATE expect to be without former Barca winger Aleksandr Hleb (hip), key striker Vitali Rodionov (knee) and Maksim Zhavnerchik (ankle) for the visit to Catalonia.

The Belarusian champions have never before won in Spain in European competition and have only one victory from their last 13 Champions League away matches, despite enjoying a 28-match unbeaten streak on the road in the league.

Barca, meanwhile, have won all of their last seven home games in the competition and beat BATE 4-0 on their previous trip to Camp Nou in December 2011.

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