Pedri in Tears as Barcelona Hit with Double Injury Blow in Athletic Club Stalemate

Barcelona were hit with a double injury blow which marred their goalless draw against Athletic Club at San Mames.

Barcelona failed to take advantage of Real Madrid’s slip-up in the title race.

Fresh off the back of their 4-0 drubbing of Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey in midweek, Athletic would have been brimming with confidence about closing the gap on the top four.

But with Real Madrid only drawing 2-2 with Valencia last Saturday and Girona suffering a surprise defeat to Mallorca, Barcelona had the opportunity to close the gap at the top to four points.

With few chances to speak of in the early exchanges, Barca were dealt a massive blow in the 26th minute when Frenkie de Jong was forced off with an ankle injury and replaced by Joao Cancelo. The Portuguese full-back nearly put the visitors in front minutes later, only to see his effort hacked clear off the line on the half-hour mark, the Spanish MARCA newspaper reported.

Ronald Araujo and head coach Xavi Hernandez were both cautioned midway through
the first half, meaning the pair will be suspended for their next fixture against Mallorca on 8 March.

But Barca’s already bad evening turned into a nightmare when Xavi was forced into another change on the stroke of halftime.

Pedri, who has been plagued by injury over the past two seasons, had to be consoled by medics as he broke down in tears while walking off, suggesting his latest injury could keep him out for a lengthy period. Lamine Yamal was brought on in his place as Barca looked to spark the game into life.

The 17-year-old made an impact and felt he should have been awarded a penalty after going down under a challenge from Imanol Garcia, but the referee waved away his appeals.

With the clock running down, Xavi sent on fresh legs in the form of Joao Felix, Inigo Martinez and Oriol Romeu for Raphinha, Pau Cubarsi and the booked Andreas Christensen. But in a stop-start game of few chances, Barca never truly looked like finding the back of the net.

With De Jong and Pedri joining Gavi, Ferran Torres,
Marcos Alonso and Alejandro Balde on the ever-increasing list of injuries, Barca’s hopes of catching Real Madrid look slim at best with only 12 games

Source: Oman News Agency