The Telegraph
Thursday , April 4 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Injury not serious, says Messi

- Injury not serious, says Lionel; PSG get a lifeline
Lionel Messi and Jordi Alba, on Wednesday

Barcelona/ Paris: Lionel Messi will miss this weekend’s La Liga match at home to Real Mallorca with a right hamstring injury and will then return to action depending on the speed of his recovery, Barcelona said after tests on Wednesday.

The World Player of the Year limped off at halftime in Barcelona’s 2-2 Champions League quarter-final first-leg draw away to Paris St Germain on Tuesday and is doubtful for next Wednesday’s return at the Nou Camp.

Local media reports had said he would be out of action for about three weeks.

“I will return soon, thankfully it was not so serious.” Messi said. “We are so sorry for Masche (Javier Mascherano) we will give our support he returns as soon as possible.”

His Argentine teammate, defender Mascherano, was carried off on a stretcher in Paris and has been ruled out for six weeks with knee ligament damage.

Messi is Barca’s leading scorer with eight goals in the Champions League and 43 in La Liga this season, and is an ever-present figure in the side.

He is rarely rested and has been extraordinarily resilient to injury. The last time he was sidelined with a muscle injury was in November 2009 when he was out of action for a week.

Barcelona host relegation-threatened Mallorca on Saturday holding a 13-point lead over chasing Real Madrid with nine games left to play.

Messi’s absence will bring to an end his latest scoring feet of netting in 19 successive league matches, against every team in La Liga consecutively.

Barcelona though stayed on track for a sixth consecutive Champions League semi-final appearance despite conceding a last-gasp goal by Blaise Matuidi on Tuesday.

The 2009 and 2011 champions went in front seven minutes before halftime when Dani Alves produced an exquisite pass with the outside of his right boot straight into the path of Messi who drove the ball in with his left foot from an acute angle.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave PSG a lifeline when he scrambled in the equaliser, even though he looked offside before a soaring header from Thiago Silva rebounded to the Sweden striker off the post in the 79th minute.

Xavi calmly restored title favourites Barca’s advantage from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu rushed off his line in the 89th minute and brought down Alexis Sanchez.

Matuidi then struck with the last kick of the game when his long-range shot eluded the outstretched fingers of goalkeeper Victor Valdes.

David Beckham became the first British player to appear for four different clubs in the Champions League when he was named in PSG’s starting line-up.

In Munich, Bayern Munich tore Juventus apart on a rare off-night for Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon but had to settle for a 2-0 win after missing a hatful of chances. Pirlo and Buffon were both at fault as David Alaba put hosts Bayern ahead inside 30 seconds, a goal which set the tone of the first half as the Bavarians, who hit nine past Hamburg SV on Saturday, exposed the Juve defence.                (agencies)