Sport Soccer

Monday 22 January 2018

'Terrible news' as Andres Iniesta's hamstring injury adds to Barcelona's injury woes

Barcelona's Andres Iniesta walks off the pitch during their Champions League group E soccer match against Bayer Leverkusen at Camp Nou stadium
Barcelona's Andres Iniesta walks off the pitch during their Champions League group E soccer match against Bayer Leverkusen at Camp Nou stadium

Barcelona will have to overcome the loss of yet another key player to injury when they visit Sevilla on Saturday in Spain's La Liga.

Blaugrana captain Andres Iniesta is the latest star to hit the sidelines after hurting his hamstring during the club's 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Barca had already lost Brazilian midfielder Rafinha and Argentina forward Lionel Messi to knee injuries and will now have to do without veteran midfielder Iniesta for at least a month.

"The injury to Iniesta is terrible news," Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said on his club's official website. "I don't know why we are having so many injuries.

"Some days it rains and others it doesn't, it is just what we have and we have to deal with it. We'll show everyone that we can overcome these things."

So far, Barca have adapted without Messi, who scored a total of 60 goals and set up 28 more in 60 appearances, helping the Blaugrana capture a Primera Division, Champions League and Copa del Rey treble last season.

"It was tough to play without Messi," Luis Enrique admitted after Tuesday's game. "It was our second game without our best player, he is irreplaceable. Yet we won."

Barca again relied on Luis Suarez to provide the answers in attack.

The Uruguay forward, whose brace had given Barca a 2-1 win over Las Palmas at the weekend, scored his team's second goal on Tuesday to increase his tally to five goals.

"Again we saw that fighting spirit and that determination that characterises Suarez," Luis Enrique said.

Suarez, who scored 25 goals and set up 21 more in all competitions for Barca last season, will lead the attack alongside Neymar on Sunday.

Barca are second in La Liga, one point adrift of league leaders Villarreal and a point clear of Real Madrid after six games played.

They have not lost at Sevilla's Sanchez Pizjuan stadium since the 2006-07 campaign and have won three of their last five league meetings in Seville.

Sevilla have endured a difficult start to the campaign with just one win and three defeats in six La Liga games.

Last weekend's 3-2 triumph over Rayo Vallecano was their first success on the domestic front.

Sevilla, last season's Europa League winners, took just one shot on goal and fell 2-0 at Juventus in their Champions League game on Wednesday.

The Andalusian club had won 3-0 at home to Borussia Monchengladbach in their group opener.

"We are just at the beginning and we are not going to bring ourselves down," Sevilla midfielder Vicente Iborra said. "We cannot be criticised for a lack of compromise and hard work.

"On Saturday we have a very good opportunity to prove it and we want to go into the international break on the right foot."

The good news for Sevilla coach Unai Emery is that midfielder Vitolo and striker Fernando Llorente have recovered from the respective muscular injuries which kept them out of the last two games.

Press Association

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