Messi hurt again as Barcelona beats Vil­lar­real

The Korea Times - - SPORTS -

MADRID (AP) — Lionel Messi and An­toine Griez­mann gave a glimpse of what the duo can achieve for Barcelona, but the part­ner­ship didn’t last long be­cause of an­other in­jury to Messi.

The Ar­gentina star set up Griez­mann’s open­ing goal in the 2-1 win over Vil­lar­real at Camp Nou Sta­dium on Tues­day, but then had to be re­placed at half­time of his first start after a long in­jury lay­off.

Messi, who on Mon­day won his sixth FIFA player of the year award, didn’t re­turn for the sec­ond half be­cause of an ap­par­ent left leg mus­cle prob­lem.

“When some­thing hap­pens to Messi, it seems that the world comes to a halt,” Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. “But it looks like it’s only some mi­nor pain in his ab­duc­tor (mus­cle). We re­placed him as a pre­cau­tion. We don’t want to take any risks.”

Barcelona did not im­me­di­ately give an of­fi­cial med­i­cal re­port on Messi’s prob­lem.

Arthur also scored for the Cata­lan club, while Santi Ca­zorla pulled Vil­lar­real closer just be­fore half­time.

The vic­tory helped Barcelona re­bound from two re­cent set­backs and move to fourth place in the league stand­ings, one point be­hind leader Granada, which ear­lier Tues­day drew 1-1 at Val­ladolid. Ath­letic Bil­bao and Real Madrid have the same 11 points as Granada, but both teams have a game in hand.

Barcelona lost 2-0 to Granada on Satur­day, and was held 0-0 by Borus­sia Dort­mund last week in its first Cham­pi­ons League match of the sea­son. Griez­mann opened the scor­ing with a header from a cross by Messi in the sixth minute for his third goal since join­ing Barcelona in the off­sea­son.

“We are still far from our best, but with time, as we play more matches, we will keep im­prov­ing,” Griez­mann said.

Arthur added to the lead with a pow­er­ful shot from out­side the area in the 15th, and Ca­zorla pulled one back for the vis­i­tors in the 44th, also from long range.

Messi hurt his left leg less than half an hour into the match. The play­maker left the field and doc­tors at­tended to his leg for few min­utes be­fore he even­tu­ally re­turned and fin­ished the half.

Messi, who had been nurs­ing a right calf in­jury he picked up in the pre­sea­son, played his first min­utes of the sea­son when he came off the bench in the sec­ond half of the match against Borus­sia Dort­mund last week. He also came off the bench in the sec­ond half of the loss at Granada.

Messi was re­placed by Ous­mane Dem­bele, who has also been in­jured and made his first ap­pear­ance since the league opener.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Korea, Republic

© PressReader. All rights reserved.