Rome

Soccer: Juve get Real Madrid, Roma-Barcelona (5)

Tough challenge for Italian teams in Champions League quarters

Soccer: Juve get Real Madrid, Roma-Barcelona (5)

Rome, March 16 - Italy's two surviving teams in the Champions League will both face a tough challenge in the quarterfinals, with Juventus drawn against Real Madrid and AS Roma pitched against Barcelona. Roma will face the Catalan giants away in the first leg on April 4, with the return in the Italian capital six days later. It will be the opposite way around for Juve, who will host Real in Turin in the first leg on April 3 and travel to Madrid for the second leg the following week. That tie is a repeat of last season's final, which Real won 4-1. Juve boss Massimiliano Allegri said he was taking heart from the fact that his men knocked out another Spanish giant, Barca, on the way to last year's final. "Last year we beat Barcelona in the quarterfinals, maybe this year's we'll bear Real, who remain the main favourites to win the Champions in my opinion," Allegri said. "It is necessary to approach things with all the positivity possible. "Real remain the big favourite. If we beat them, it will be doubly satisfying". Juventus Vice-President Pavel Nedved told Mediaset Premium that he thought the Turin giants "have more of a chance over two legs" than in a single do-or-die encounter. "The two matches will be difficult and we have two suspended players, but you always start at 0-0 and I'm convinced we can cause them trouble". Juve skipper Gianluigi Buffon said "we'll play Real without regrets or frustration" over last year's thrashing. "May the more determined side win," said the Italy keeper and captain. The most recent encounter between Roma and Barcelona was in the 2015/16 group stage, with the Catalans winning 6-1 at the Camp Nou and Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez both scoring twice. "I'm happy about the draw because we are among the eight best teams in Europe and so it would have been the same to take on Manchester City or Real Madrid," said Roma director Francesco Totti. "We'll play to win as we have up to now. We've had a good run in this Champions League so Barcelona will have to sweat hard to knock us out. "My son is crazy about Messi. The last time I asked him for his shirt because I'd already given him five of mine".

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