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Date: Sunday 14th January, 2024
Time: 8:00 pm
Stadium A;l-Awwal Park
Referee Juan Martinez (Spain)
Real Madrid will be without the services of Lucas Vazquez, Thibaut Courtois, Eder Militao, and David Alaba. Meanwhile, Federico Valverde is expected to be back fit in time after getting subbed off in extra-time following a knock against Atletico Madrid.
Carlo Ancelotti is expected to field an unchanged XI in this fixture. The same XI that started in the semi-final will most likely start the final despite reports suggesting that Kepa Arrizabalaga will be benched for Andriy Lunin.
Kepa will be in goal in a 4-4-2 formation with a diamond in the centre of the park. Dani Carvajal and Ferland Mendy will be the full-backs, and they will look to join the attack at every possible opportunity. They will also look to help out Antonio Rudiger who will pair up with Nacho in the heart of the defence.
Aurelien Tchouaméni will be the holding midfielder and he will have the support of Luka Modric and Federico Valverde. The trio will look to ensure Barcelona’s midfielders do not end up dominating the proceedings.
Jude Bellingham will start in behind the front two as the attacking midfielder. He will look to continue his dominant goal-scoring run and will also look to create chances for Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes who will start up top as the two forwards.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Kepa; Carvajal, Rudiger, Nacho, Mendy; Valverde, Tchouameni, Modric; Bellingham; Rodrygo, Vinicius
Xavi Hernandez will be without a total of six players for this fixture. Raphinha, who picked up a hamstring injury in their last outing will join Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Gavi, Marcos Alonso and Inigo Martinez on the sidelines. Meanwhile, Joao Cancelo won’t be back fit in time for the final.
Barcelona will stick to the 4-3-3 formation against Real Madrid, with Inaki Pena in goal. While Barcelona often start Ronald Araujo as a right-back to counter the threat of Vinicius, they are unlikely to do that in this fixture as the Brazilian has started playing centrally due to the demands of the team.
Jules Kounde and Alejandro Balde should be the full-backs, while Araujo and Andreas Christensen will take charge at the heart of the defence. The back four will look to keep a clean sheet against a star-studded Real Madrid attack that has been scoring goals for fun.
Pedri, who made an appearance from the bench, in their last outing will most likely start the final alongside Frenkie de Jong and Ilkay Gundogan. They will look to control the possession of the ball and dictate the pace of the game.
With Raphinha injured, Lamine Yamal will take charge on the right flank, while Joao Felix will take charge on the left. Robert Lewandowski who found the back of the net in the semi-final will be leading the line for Barcelona against Real Madrid.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Pena; Kounde, Araujo, Christensen, Balde; Pedri, De Jong, Gundogan; Yamal, Lewandowski, Felix
Prediction: Real Madrid 3-2 Barcelona.(www.naija247news.com)