Barcelona vs Athletic Club La Liga Match Result March 2024

Barcelona vs Athletic Club La Liga Match Result March 2024

Barcelona is currently grappling with a midfield injury crisis following the premature exits of both Frenkie de Jong and Pedri during Sunday's LaLiga encounter against Athletic Club at San Mamés.

De Jong's departure came in the 26th minute as he was stretchered off the field due to an awkward landing on his ankle, reminiscent of his earlier two-month hiatus this season due to a sprained ankle.

Shortly before halftime, Pedri joined him on the sidelines, having suffered his third muscle injury this campaign. Having endured a hamstring issue sidelining him for two months in August and another muscle setback for three weeks at the start of the year, Pedri's condition raises concerns once more.

Both players are scheduled for scans on Monday, with Barcelona's head coach, Xavi Hernández, expressing pessimism about their conditions.

"The absence of Frenkie and Pedri has significantly impacted our team, as they are integral to our playing style," remarked Xavi during the post-match press conference.

He lamented, "It's unfortunate given Pedri's recent recovery from his previous injury. He had been training exceptionally well this week. Frenkie's involvement in our gameplay is immense. Losing them is a major blow."

Xavi remained cautious about their prognosis: "The situation doesn't look promising. We felt their absence today and anticipate doing so in the future. Hopefully, their recovery time will be shorter than anticipated."

The match ended in a 0-0 stalemate, leaving Barcelona in their initial third-place position with 58 points, trailing LaLiga leaders Real Madrid by eight points.

"It was a significant opportunity squandered," Xavi remarked, ruing the missed chance to narrow the gap on Madrid and secure a higher standing in the league table. "We failed to perform adequately. Perhaps the only positive aspect was our defensive display," Xavi conceded, reflecting on the team's overall performance.

The setbacks of De Jong and Pedri are particularly concerning ahead of crucial fixtures in both LaLiga and the Champions League before the upcoming international break in March.

Injuries have compounded Barcelona's woes, with midfielder Gavi already sidelined for the season due to an anterior cruciate ligament tear suffered in November while on international duty with Spain.

With De Jong and Pedri absent, Xavi resorted to deploying center-back Andreas Christensen and youngster Fermín López alongside Ilkay Gündogan in midfield against Athletic.

Xavi mentioned Oriol Romeu as an additional midfield option for upcoming matches, including the decisive second leg of their Champions League round-of-16 tie against Napoli on March 12.

Before facing Napoli, Barcelona will host Mallorca in LaLiga on Friday, followed by an away trip to face top-four contenders Atlético Madrid on March 17. The injury list extends beyond De Jong and Pedri, with left-backs Alejandro Balde and Marcos Alonso, along with forward Ferran Torres, also sidelined.

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