Barcelona dealt Iniesta blow ahead of Arsenal clash

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Barcelona have been dealt a blow in the build-up to Wednesday's Champions League clash with Arsenal after it was confirmed that Andres Iniesta will miss the first leg of the quarter-final encounter at the Emirates Stadium with a hamstring injury.

The midfielder had to be replaced just after half-time on Saturday as Barca edged to a 1-0 win at Real Mallorca.

Tests have confirmed that the Spain international is likely to be sidelined for approximately ten days.

As well as the midweek game in north London, Iniesta seems certain to miss next weekend's La Liga match with Athletic Bilbao.

The 25-year-old has featured in 27 of Barcelona's 29 league matches so far this season, as well as being an ever-present in the Champions League.

Meanwhile, coach Manuel Pellegrini claimed his 'superior' Real Madrid side were fully deserving of Sunday's 3-2 derby victory over Atletico Madrid.

Real's place at the top of the La Liga table had looked under threat as they trailed 1-0 at the interval to Jose Antonio Reyes' 10th-minute opener.

However, three goals in 13 second-half minutes from Xabi Alonso, Alvaro Arbeloa and Gonzalo Higuain secured a priceless come-from-behind victory for the home side.

Diego Forlan's late penalty reduced the arrears but Pellegrini claimed Real deserved to win.

"We were too static during the first half but we had chances to equalise and we didn't take them," he explained.

"(However), we were superior to Atletico Madrid throughout the match.

"The football we played was enough to beat Atletico, which is the most important thing."

Valencia coach Unai Emery could not believe how poorly his side played in Saturday's 3-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Real Zaragoza.

Los Che remain third despite suffering their sixth defeat of the campaign but Emery was particularly disappointed with Nikola Zigic who was sent off after receiving a second yellow card before half time.

A livid Emery said: "We played irresponsibly. We should have remained calm. Zigic was very excited to play, but he should have focussed his energy better.

"I am very upset by the loss and the red card. We lost three very important points."