Thursday, 25 April, 2019

K.P Boateng plays full throttle as Barcelona draw at Huesca

Ashley Young is just as good as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo it was claimed in 2008 Ashley Young is just as good as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo it was claimed in 2008
Cassandra Castillo | 14 April, 2019, 11:16

Ernesto Valverde was proud of the way his back-up Barcelona side performed at Huesca despite them being held to a disappointing 0-0 draw on Saturday. Ivan Rakitic and Sergi Roberto have both been ruled out with minor problems.

Smalling claims he also spoke to Suarez, adding: "Suarez [came up to me] after the game as well".

Indeed, given Barcelona's often lethargic and sloppy play during the opening hour of the first leg, it could well be that some big names aren't even included in the matchday squad at all. They were not normal debuts, like when a player debuts alongside the first-choice players.

With the league title seemingly locked up with only six rounds left, Valverde put his focus on United's visit on Tuesday.

The result is unlikely to do much good to their survival chances, but Barca remain firmly on course for the title and will be grateful to have rested several key performers ahead of the Champions League quarter-final second leg against Manchester United.

"I think it [the challenge] came when we were right on the front foot", he told BT Sport.

It might have been something of a unusual line-up, but Puig took his chance to impress in his first league outing. "To win away from home in the Champions League you have to suffer".

French forward Ousmane Dembele made his comeback after a month out with a hamstring injury, with Kevin-Prince Boateng making only his third Barca appearance.

More news: Yankees ace Severino has lat strain

Midfielder Arturo Vidal, who did start the game, said Barca's players had been distracted by Tuesday's game against United.

The tempo of the match then dropped as Huesca regrouped to try to stifle Barca's attacking threat.

Despite needing to take all three points, Huesca barely threatened Ter Stegen's goal in their second meeting.

Huesca was left in last place at five points from safety.

United's resilience and pressing allowed them to stay in the game for the full 90 minutes but Solskjaer's team were nowhere near as close to matching the La Liga outfit as the scoreline may have suggested.

Atletico missed its best opportunity to give Barcelona a fight for the title when it lost 2-0 in the last round at Camp Nou.

Regardless, Fivethirtyeight certainly sees Liverpool as the team to beat, with a 29% chance of going all the way this year and lifting the Champions League trophy come June.

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