Sports

Barcelona Captain Andres Iniesta Injured, Will Miss UEFA Champions League Tie Against Chelsea

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| March 6 , 2018 , 19:11 IST

The Blues will not face Andres Iniesta 'blues' again as the Barcelona skipper won’t be able to play for the team in the return leg of the last-16 tie of UEFA Champions League. Iniesta scored the winner against the English club in 2009 to take his team to finals.

Iniesta suffered a hamstring injury on Sunday in a 1-0 win against Atletico Madrid. This will keep him out of the second leg of last-16 on March 14.

Iniesta known for his stoppage-time winner in 2009, was also the one who played a vital role in Barcelona’s solitary goal in 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge.

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Antonio Conte’s Chelsea will be the underdogs as they travel to Barcelona, where the hosts are unbeaten in all three major competitions this season.

Barcelona’s record signing Philippe Coutinho can fill in for the 33-year-old playmaker but the Brazilian is cup-tied in the Champions League after joining from Liverpool in January.

That leaves coach Ernesto Valverde with limited options but none with the pedigree of Iniesta or Coutinho.

Paulinho has failed to impress ever since his arrival in the past summer. Gomes came on as a substitute for Iniesta during the win over Atletico but was whistled by some Barcelona fans during another disappointing display. Ousmane Dembele can fill in for Iniesta, but his inclusion would see the formation change from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3.

Chelsea has suffered successive defeat against Manchester United and Manchester City since the first leg, and their stuttering confidence will be seen as an advantage for the home side.