Published: Mon, February 04, 2019
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Barcelona coach Valverde confident Messi injury not serious

Barcelona coach Valverde confident Messi injury not serious

Barcelona could be without Lionel Messi for Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final first leg clash against rivals Real Madrid due to a thigh injury sustained in the club's 2-2 draw with Valencia.

Barca trailed to goals from Kevin Gameiro and Daniel Parejo until Messi intervened, scoring twice to earn the champions a point at Camp Nou.

So a chill ran through Barcelona's supporters during the Spanish league match against Valencia on Saturday when Messi sat down on the sideline, his right leg stretched before him, and received a massage from a team trainer.

"Speaking after the game, Barça boss Ernesto Valverde said: "(Messi) has a small problem.

"We have to wait until [Sunday] to see how the pain is", Valverde said in his postgame news conference.

The immediate response from Barcelona was strong, with Messi and Philippe Coutinho only denied by last-ditch challenges after driving into risky positions, while the former also had a free kick saved by Neto in the eighth minute.

He then bagged his second goal just after the hour mark to level the game.

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Okay Yokuslu scored 17 minutes from time to give the hosts a much-needed victory, only their sixth of the season, to end a five-match losing streak.

Lionel Messi duly slotted away the spot-kick for his 20th league goal of the season. Two minutes into the game they attacked along Barca's left, weakened because Sergi Roberto was playing in place of Jordi Alba.

Valencia were weakened when Gameiro departed injured after 40 minutes.

Barcelona made Valencia pay for their missed chances in the 64th minute and it was not a surprise that the home side's equaliser came from Messi, who curled one into the bottom corner from distance. "If he's in good shape, he'll play on Wednesday [against Madrid]".

Barca fans have a taste for comebacks and they started the second half with Messi immediately threatening at goal.

Real Sociedad won the Basque derby 2-1 at home to Athletic Bilbao to move to eighth in the table.

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