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Lionel Messi injury news: Update on his availability for the return leg against Manchester United 

11 Apr 2019, 20:40 IST

Chris Smalling's elbow left Messi bleeding from the eye and the nose at Old Trafford
Chris Smalling's elbow left Messi bleeding from the eye and the nose at Old Trafford

What's the story?

As per reports from Spanish newspaper AS, Lionel Messi has sustaineda small deviation to his nasal septum and a blood clot in his eyelid after a seemingly unintentional elbow from Manchester United centre back Chris Smalling caught him on his face. This happened during yesterday's Champions League Quarterfinal first leg where Barcelona emerged victorious 1-0 over Manchester United, courtesy of a Luke Shaw own goal

In case you didn't know...

Barcelona were lucky to escape with a narrow 1-0 win at Old Trafford against a spirited Man United side that put in a great fight during the game. Messi was instrumental in the opener as his splendid cross across the penalty box was headed towards goal by Luis Suarez, only to be turned into his own goal by United left-back Luke Shaw.

After Barca took the early lead on the 12th-minute mark, United grew into the game but failed to create many goalscoring opportunities. Scott Mc Tominay and Chris Smalling paid close attention to Messi and were not afraid to be physical on the mercurial Messiah. It was one of such physical challenges from Smalling that resulted in Messi bleeding from the nose and the eyelid.

The heart of the matter

The on-ground physician's deemed that Messi hadn't fractured his nose and the Barcelona captain decided to soldier on through the rest of the game, despite being clearly uncomfortable and having difficulty breathing.

Messi's difficulties clearly impacted Barcelona's game as the typically dominant side were a shadow of themselves, conceding way too much possession to the English side. If the likes of Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Diego Dalot had impressed up front, Barca might even have succumbed to a defeat.

What's next?

Ernesto Valverde's Barcelona are set to face Huesca on Saturday in the La Liga, a game Messi is likely to sit out owing to this injury. Messi is, however, expected to make a full recovery in time for Barca's Quarterfinal second leg at home against United by next week, Wednesday.

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