Barcelona star Lionel Messi suffered a bloody nose in the team’s champions league victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford last night. The Argentina captain picked up the injury when he clashed with Chris Smalling in the second half.
Though the five time ballon d’Or finished the game, he is expected to miss Barcelona’s La Liga clash against Huesca on Saturday. The Argentine international will go for a further test this morning hoping he hasn’t fractured his nose.
However, if results show there’s a fracture, Messi will have to wear a protective mask for the return leg. “It was a big blow, Messi has a scar and he bled a lot,” midfielder Sergio Busquets told reporters. “It was obviously uncomfortable for him but he put on a brave face and played as best as he could, as he always does.”
Messi helped set up the only goal of the game in the 12th minute. His far-post cross found ex-Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, whose header was turned into his own net by Luke Shaw.
Cross from Messi goal from Suarez! ??#MUNBAR #Barcelona #ChampionsLeague pic.twitter.com/fLkOGkXLuF
— FootballAbyss (@AbyssFootball) April 10, 2019
Barca failed to build on their lead and while United grew into the game in the second half, they ended the 90 minutes without registering a shot on target.
“We put in an excellent performance defensively, we’re in our best form in defence of the season,” centre-back Gerard Pique told reporters. “The early goal relaxed us and we knew how to cope with the situation, the fact we didn’t concede helps us a lot.
“It’s very difficult to come here, it’s an historical ground, there’s a sensational atmosphere and you get put under a lot of pressure.”
Barca have fallen in the quarterfinals in each of the last three seasons but their win at Old Trafford — their first away from home in the Champions League knockout rounds since 2016 — leaves them in a good position to make their first semifinal since they won the competition in 2015.
They’re unbeaten in 30 European matches at Camp Nou going into next week’s second leg, but Pique says United should not be written off after a remarkable turnaround against Paris Saint-Germain in the last round.
“After seeing what they did against PSG there’s no reason at all to believe the tie is over,” he added. “PSG were the clear favourites then, they played far better and look what happened. Anything can happen in football so we’ll have to focus very hard.”