Villarreal CF coach Manuel Pellegrini is poised to give Mariano Barbosa a rare run in the side as the UEFA Champions League semi-finalists prepare for life without goalkeeper Sebastián Viera.
Uruguayan international Viera was shown his third yellow card of the tournament in the 94th minute of Villarreal's 1-0 victory against FC Internazionale Milano on Tuesday. That leaves him suspended for the first leg of the semi-final against Arsenal FC on 19 April, and Pellegrini is determined to give understudy Barbosa some match practice beforehand, starting against RC Deportivo La Coruña this weekend. "The coach has confirmed that I will be in the team from Sunday so I can get into the rhythm of things and be on top form for Arsenal," said the 21-year-old.
Villarreal also play fellow semi-finalists FC Barcelona before the trip to Highbury, and having been sent off on his last appearance - against Valencia CF in January - Argentinian keeper Barbosa is determined to make a better impression this time. "I have to be calm, do the right things and leave the tie in good hands for Viera, who has done a splendid job so far," he continued. The UEFA Champions League stage is not unfamiliar to the youngster, who kept clean sheets against Manchester United FC and SL Benfica when Viera was sidelined during the group stage.
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