Eurozone: Messi suffers injury as Barça see off Atletico

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The Independent Football

Lionel Messi suffered ligament damage to his right ankle but no break after being injured in Barcelona's game last night against Atletico Madrid. Messi was stretchered off following a late challenge by Tomas Ujfalusi in the 2-1 win at the Vicente Calderon, an incident that saw the Atletico defender sent off.

Barca said in a statement that he had sprained the external ligament in his right ankle but there was no bone damage and further tests would be conducted today. "We are very pleased with the win but sad about the injury to Leo [Messi]," manager Pep Guardiola said.

Guardiola's side had crashed to a shock 2-0 defeat at home to promoted Hercules last weekend, but spoilt Atletico's perfect start to the season with a much more accomplished performance. Messi poked Barça ahead in the 13th minute, seconds after a David Villa strike had ricocheted back off a post, before the Atletico midfielder Raul Garcia lifted the crowd with a towering header in the 25th minute.

Spain defender Pique outmuscled the home defence to put Barcelona back in front just after the half-hour. Atletico goalkeeper David De Gea kept the home side in the match with smart saves from Xavi and Pedro at the start of the second period and Villa and Messi both missed chances to make the game safe. Villa blasted over with the goal at his mercy and Messi fired straight at De Gea.

The Atletico fans gave Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta, scorer of the winning goal for Spain in July's World Cup final, a rousing ovation when he was replaced in added time.

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