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Tough for Barca in Europa League – Sports Africa


Barcelona will among the four Spanish sides will be in Europa League action on Thursday night with the future of two of them hanging by a thread.

FC Barcelona travels to face Napoli after being held to a 1-1 draw in the Camp Nou Stadium a week ago.

Barca coach Xavi Hernandez will be pleased by the form of recent arrival Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who scored twice in their 4-1 win away to Valencia at the weekend, but will once again have to decide between Sergino Dest or Oscar Mingueza at right back, while Sergio Busquets also looks likely to start alongside Frenkie de Jong.

Real Sociedad has a difficult return leg at home to RB Leipzig after a 2-2 draw in Germany, which would have been a much better result if the ‘away goals’ rule was still in effect.

Real Sociedad coach Imanol Alguacil needs to pick his players up after their 4-0 thrashing by Athletic Club Bilbao in the Basque derby and he also needs his players to recover physically as they looked flat in that defeat.

There are still doubts over the fitness of key forwards Alexander Isak and Adnan Januzaj, while Diego Rico could be back at left back after missing out at the weekend.

Six-time Europa League winners Sevilla should have an easier night as they defend a 3-1 first leg lead away to Dinamo Zagreb, although the Croatians showed in the first leg that they can pose problems in attack.

Lucas Ocampos and Jules Kounde are likely starters given that suspension means they will miss the weekend derby against Betis.

Betis is also in action and should keep their excellent run of form alive at home to Zenit St Petersburg, who has lost eight of 10 away games in Spain and failed to win any of their last 16 matches in either the Europa League or the Champions League.

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