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Barcelona academy graduate likely to start once again in Atletico Madrid clash

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Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona’s 2-1 victory against FC Porto in the UEFA Champions League saw many individuals rise to the occasion.

One of the top performers on the night was the young Inaki Pena, who had immense pressure on his shoulders but did not let the nerves of the big occasion faze him.

After a nervy game against Rayo Vallecano, there were concerns about his inexperience ahead of the crucial clash against Porto.

However, the goalkeeper enjoyed a solid outing and excellently made up for Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s absence.

Inaki Pena poised to start again

Now, SPORT have come out to report that the academy graduate is likely to be rewarded for his performance, and the likelihood of him starting against Atletico Madrid has risen.

Ter Stegen’s prolonged absence stems from back discomfort, which compelled him to return from the previous international break having played no minutes for Germany.

The 31-year-old has not participated in team training for the past three weeks and is thus lacking any form of match rhythm.

Although Ter Stegen’s back is gradually getting better, the German is still missing training sessions with Barça.

As such, for him to displace Inaki Pena in the starting XI, he would have to be deemed at 100% fitness, which is an improbable scenario considering the time that is left until Barcelona and Atletico Madrid lock horns.

As a result, it appears logical for Barcelona to continue with the La Masia graduate in goal on Sunday.

Another start beckons? (Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images)

Pena in good nick

The Spanish keeper was responsible for some great saves against Porto, with strong reflexes keeping the Porto attackers at bay.

Even though Pena let in a goal in the first half, the goal conceded could not be faulted entirely on him, and his overall performance oozed confidence. He came off his line when necessary and guarded the goal well.

The 24-year-old’s ball distribution showed signs of hesitancy, but given his age and inexperience, it was hardly a surprise. With Barça set to host the Rojiblancos at home soon, Pena’s recent performance has improved the chances of his inclusion.

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