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Barcelona lose Lionel Messi to groin injury during draw with Atlético Madrid

Lionel Messi suffered a groin injury as Barcelona were held 1-1 by Atlético Madrid at the Camp Nou last on Wednesday night and the club said he would be out of action for at least three weeks.

Barcelona’s coach Luis Henrique said afterwards: “To lose Messi means that football loses. With Messi we are stronger, but we will continue being strong”

If the Argentinian’s early departure was not bad enough, Barça failed to make up ground on the La Liga leaders Real Madrid, whose unbeaten start had been halted earlier in the evening when they could only draw at home with Villarreal.

Barcelona seemed to be on course to cut Real’s lead to one point when Ivan Rakitic headed home a cross by Andres Iniesta in the 41st minute. But Diego Simeone’s side were dogged opponents and scored the equaliser their efforts deserved when the substitute Ángel Correa got the better of Javier Mascherano to slide a precise shot past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in the 61st minute .

Barcelona lose Lionel Messi to groin injury during draw with Atlético Madrid
Barcelona lose Lionel Messi to groin injury during draw with Atlético Madrid

Messi had Barcelona’s first effort in the 14th minute but it was comfortably saved Jan Oblak while for Atlético, who were content to play on the break, Yannick Ferreira Carrasco tested Ter Stegen with an angled drive after a quarter of an hour.

Mascherano, who had been so sloppy in the home defeat by Alaves, then produced a goal-saving tackle to deny Kevin Gameiro a tap-in.

Barcelona were finding it difficult to break down Atlético’s defence and when Jordi Alba’s low cross from the left found Luis Suárez, Diego Godín was able to snuff out the danger.

Then, after Antoine Griezmann had denied Messi after he had wriggled past three players and exchanged passes with Sergi Roberto, Barcelona made the breakthrough.

Iniesta received the ball on the left from a short corner before whipping in a fast right-footed cross for Rakitic to beat Oblak with a glancing header from six yards.

After half-time, Barcelona’s cause was set back when they lost Sergio Busquets to injury and Messi soon afterwards.

Their withdrawal, with André Gomes and Arda Ruran respectively replacing them, was compounded when Atlético equalised. A quickly taken free-kick was flicked on by Fernando Torres, also a substitute, and Correa made a clever feint that left Mascherano on the ground before firing home via a post.

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