Fans react on Twitter to Chris Smalling's horror challenge on Lionel Messi during UCL quarter-final
- Smalling's challenge left the Argentine bloodied in the face.
Barcelona captain Lionel Messi was left bloodied in the face after a challenge by Chris Smalling during his side's 1-0 win in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final fixture on Wednesday.
An own goal from Luke Shaw was enough for the Catalan giants to earn a much-needed advantage in the fixture as they are set to face the Red Devils in the closing leg next week.
Smalling's hand hit the five-time Ballon d'Or winner just as the pair were trying to win the ball in the air. This left the Argentine ace bleeding and bruised in the face.
Spekaing of the injury following the game, Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde said (via Fox Sports Asia), "Messi wasn’t so comfortable after the blow. We have to examine him tomorrow to see how he is. He was strong, but he has quite a significant bruise."
He added, "When you see the atmosphere here and the team they have and it being the Champions League, it’s hard to win here. It was a difficult game and complicated at times, but we had the clearest chances."
A report in ESPN has claimed that Messi is likely to sit out Barcelona's La Liga game against Huesca this weekend owing to the injury. He will reportedly undergo tests in Barcelona today to determine how severe the injury is.
Despite not finding the net during the game, Messi, who has 43 goals in all competitions so far this season, managed to assist the only goal for Luis Suarez. The goal was, of course, ruled as an own goal.
The victory was crucial for the Catalan outfit, not just for the advantage, but also for being their first Champions League win away from home since 2016.
Barcelona will host the Red Devils at Camp Nou for the second leg of the fixture in a game that will prove to be exciting, considering how United overturned a two-goal deficit against Paris Saint-Germain in the previous stages of the competition.
Fans have since taken to Twitter to react to Smalling's horror injury on Messi: