Messi faces three weeks out … As Atletico Madrid hold Barca in Nou Camp

MessiLionel Messi faces three weeks on the sidelines ahead of Manchester City’s visit to the Nou Camp in the Champions League after tearing a muscle in Barcelona’s 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid.

Messi will miss his team’s next two home games in La Liga as well as their visit to Borrusia Monchengladbach next Wednesday. He will stay in Barcelona during the international break and should return on October 15 against Deportivo. Four days later Pep Guardiola will be in town for the first of City’s double header with Barcelona in Champions League Group C.

“Without Messi, football loses but we have the squad to cope as we did when he was out last year,’ said Luis Enrique. City will hope the Barcelona forward, who has torn the abductor muscle in his right leg, returns rusty and not refreshed as they take on the Spanish champions pegged back here by an intense Atletico Madrid side who look ready to play a big part in the title race this season.

Diego Simeone has still never beaten Barcelona in the league but he won’t let that spoil his journey back to the Spanish capital. This 1-1 draw was Barca at times at their brilliant best, but it was also Atletico telling the world they’re not going anywhere either.

Simeone’s team fell behind to a first half goal from Ivan Rakitic, but the game changed in the second half when Messi hobbled off and Angel Correa scored the equaliser. They might have taken all three points had Marc-Andre ter Stegen not tipped Diego Godin’s header just over his bar late on.

In the end it was an unstoppable force against an immovable object – two clubs who will go the distance in this season’s title race and on this evidence, take some beating in the Champions League too.

Barcelona’s first chance fell to Messi whose shot from distance after a Neymar dribble was gathered safely by Jan Oblak. But home chances were few and far between because Atletico were so well positioned and so quick to every challenge. They were good on the break too and a Yannick Carrasco run and shot meant Ter Stegen had work to do.

Javier Mascherano made a vital interception to stop Kevin Gameiro meeting an Antoine Griezmann cross and even Andres Iniesta had to sprint 50 metres back to make a goal-saving clearance.

Iniesta was everywhere and would feature for the goal but the strike that broke the deadlock was to be a while in coming as Atletico’s counter-attacking machine continued to purr in the first half. – DailyMail

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