sport

Mascherano wary of Aguero

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano believes that Sergio Aguero will be a key player for Manchester City during the two sides' Champions League clash on Wednesday.

The Spanish champions lead the last-16 tie 2-0 from the first leg played at the Etihad Stadium three weeks ago - and are favourites to go through to the quarter-finals.

Aguero is likely to start for City at Camp Nou, having recovered from his hamstring injury that forced him to miss the first leg in Manchester.

Mascherano, who is Aguero's Argentina international team-mate, has admitted that Barcelona need to keep the 25-year-old in check to avoid an upset.

"I think we are going to see Man City go all out to attack," he told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday.

"That is the way they normally play and with the result they'll need to do that more than ever.

"Sergio is someone I know well and for me is one of the five best strikers in the world.

"Given space he is the type of player who can destroy you so we have to ensure he doesn't get that space and doesn't feel comfortable."

Mascherano has also played down Barcelona's recent dip in form that has seen the Blaugrana suffer three defeats in their last six La Liga games, leaving themselves four points behind leaders Real Madrid in third place.

"At the beginning of the season you do think about how the months ahead are going to go and your dream is to be in a situation like this fighting in three competitions," said the 29-year-old.

"It is March now, there are still about two months of the season left and we have a great chance of achieving great things.

"Wait until we are dead to kill us, but we are not dead yet."