‘Free shot’ spells trouble for Spanish giants

Spanish football giants Barcelona have touched down in Sydney ahead of their first ever match in Australia against the A-League All Stars on Wednesday night.

The club only finished its La Liga season in the early hours of Monday morning (AEST), yet have jumped on a plane, with veteran defender Gerard Pique the most notable absentee from the touring party.

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Captain Sergio Busquets is part of the traveling Spanish team with Brazilian superstar Dani Alves, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Frankie de Jong, Memphis Depay, teenage sensation Ansu Fati and goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen all making the trip Down Under.

Late changes to the A-League All Stars team were brought about after the A-League semi finals on the weekend, with the Dwight Yorke-coached side having little time to prepare.

The former Manchester United and Sydney FC star has never managed a team previously and admits most people don’t give his side a chance, especially with limited preparation. However, if there was a ever a good time to play the five-time European champions, Yorke believes this is it, giving local players a chance to showcase their skills in front of the Spanish giants.

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“I don’t think a lot of people expect us to go out there and win the game,” Yorke said.

“I have been in those situations after a hard-fought season, you go on a plane going far away for a game.

“A lot of people don’t expect us to overturn Barcelona, ​​so we have a free shot against them,” Yorke added. “I am sure one or two of these players have the aspiration to play abroad against these big clubs and this is a good opportunity for some of them.”

Barcelona’s first-ever match in Australia is set to attract a crowd with more than 70,000 expected to attend Accor Stadium, in what would be a record since the pandemic.

Here’s everything you need to know.

When is the Barcelona vs A-League All Stars match?

Barcelona will take on the A-League All Stars at 8.05pm (AEST) on Wednesday night at Accor Stadium.

Both teams will also hold an open training session on Tuesday night.

How to watch Barcelona vs A-League All Stars

Viewers in Australia will be able to watch this match live and free via Network 10.

Which players are coming to Australia?

Barcelona have confirmed they have brought a 20-man squad to Australia. They will be without injured Gerard Pique, Pedri, Sergio Roberto, Eric Garcia and Sergino Dest, who have all stayed behind.

Barcelona will also be missing Riqui Puig and Oscar Mingueza to international duty, while Ferran Torres won’t be making the trip to due to his vaccination status.

The Spaniards will also be without Martin Braithwaite, who has international duties with Denmark, with Neto and Clement Lenglet also out due to family reasons.

Full Barcelona squad

Goalkeepers: Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Arnau Tenas

Defenders: Dani Alves, Ronald Araujo, Jordi Alba, Samuel Umtiti, Alejandro Balde, Mika Marmol

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Gavi, Alvaro Sanz, Jandro Orellana, Antonio Aranda, Adama Traore

Forwards: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Ousmane Dembele, Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati, Luuk de Jong

A-League All Stars squad

The squad was made up of 13 players selected by fans, 15 by Yorke and two by A-Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke.

This friendly will be played just days before the A-League Men grand final meaning players from those two sides will be unable to compete.

It has been eight years since the last A-League All Stars clash. On that occasion, they played Juventus and won 3-2.

A-League All Stars squad

Goalkeepers: Jamie Young*, Filip Kurto, Andrew Redmayne

Defenders: Adama Traore, Curtis Good*, Leo Lacroix*, Jason Davidson, Rhyan Grant, Ben Garuccio*, Adrian Mariappa, Roderick Miranda, Scott Neville, Kye Rowles

Midfielders: Daniel Penha, Anthony Caceres, Milos Ninkovic, Jack Rodwell, Jake Brimmer, Isaias Sanchez, Jay O’Shea, Reno Piscopo, Callum Timmins

Forwards: Jamie Maclaren*, Beka Mikeltadze, Craig Goodwin, Jason Cummings, Garang Kuol, Mathew Leckie*, Marco Tilio*, Nestroy Irankunda

*Ruled out through grand final commitments

Barcelona vs A-League All Stars ticket details

Tickets for the match are available through Ticketek.

The cheapest adult ticket can be bought for $49, while seats in the Barcelona active support section are also available.

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