Iniesta’s return key for Barcelona against Chelsea

first_imgFILE – In this Sept. 13, 2016 file photo, Barcelona’s Andres Iniesta celebrates scoring during a Champions League soccer match against Celtic, at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain. It remains unclear if Iniesta will get a chance to thrive again against Chelsea in a Champions League match on Wednesday March 14, 2018 as the midfielder is nursing a hamstring injury in his right leg. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti, File)MADRID — Andres Iniesta has a knack for great performances against Chelsea.His injury-time goal in the semifinals of the 2009 Champions League remains one of the most important of his career. And he also scored against the English club in the 2012 semifinals, even though Barcelona was eliminated that time.ADVERTISEMENT It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson LATEST STORIES Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi City Valverde could even consider drastically changing the team’s tactical scheme by replacing Iniesta with Ousmane Dembele, who played well in the team’s 2-0 win at Malaga in the Spanish league on Saturday. It would be a much more aggressive set up, adding another forward to play alongside Messi and Luis Suarez.Messi, who is having another stellar season, is certain to return to the squad after missing the Malaga match because of the birth of his third son, Ciro.Messi scored the equalizer in the first leg after Iniesta smartly recovered a ball in attack and avoided a defender’s tackle before making a soft pass to the Argentina playmaker inside the area.In 2009, it was Messi who rolled the ball for Iniesta’s strike from outside the area in the third minute of injury time at Stamford Bridge, silencing the Chelsea crowd and putting Barcelona on track to winning another Champions League title.Iniesta was optimistic he would get another chance to thrive like that against the English club.“Getting closer,” he said, “day after day.”Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Iniesta’s importance for Barcelona goes beyond his past heroics against Chelsea.The team’s captain, Iniesta has been crucial for the Catalan club recently as the team’s other midfielders have struggled. If he can’t play Wednesday, coach Ernesto Valverde won’t have an easy time picking his substitute.Andre Gomes, who replaced Iniesta when he had to leave the match against Atletico, has been constantly jeered by part of Barcelona fans because of his lackluster performances. Paulinho started the season well but hasn’t played at the same level recently, and Denis Suarez is out injured.Philippe Coutinho could have been a viable option but he is ineligible after having already played in this season’s Champions League with Liverpool before being signed by Barcelona.“We don’t have anyone similar, because Iniesta is unique, but there are players who can play in a similar function, like Denis, Coutinho, Gomes …,” Valverde said. “We have several options, we’ll see.”ADVERTISEMENT GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. MOST READ Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed Beer chug: Tom Brady beats Stephen Colbert in seconds flat In the first leg of this year’s encounter between the two teams, it was Iniesta who set up Lionel Messi’s important away goal in a 1-1 result that gave the Spanish club an edge going into Wednesday’s return match at Camp Nou Stadium.It’s unclear, though, if Iniesta will get a chance to thrive against Chelsea again on Wednesday. The midfielder is nursing a hamstring injury in his right leg and is listed as doubtful for the second leg.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkThe 33-year-old Iniesta had to be replaced in the first half of Barcelona’s Spanish league match against Atletico Madrid on March 4. He grabbed his right thigh before going down and requesting medical attention in the 22nd minute at Camp Nou. He returned to the match but lasted only about 10 minutes before being substituted.Iniesta was expected to be out for at least two weeks but appeared to be recovering ahead of schedule. He practiced with the rest of his teammates Monday for the first time since the injury, finishing the session without any problems. 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BYC Celebrates 2015 Coca Cola Cup

first_imgThe champions of the 2015 Coca Cola Big 8 Tournament, BYC I, has finally and officially celebrated their “title victory” in an awesome style yesterday at the Mamba Point Hotel in Central Monrovia.Attended by more than 50 people, including representatives from the Liberia Football Association (LFA), the 2015 BYC Coca Cola Award Ceremony was organized by BYC Football in collaboration with the Robert A. Sirleaf Foundation (RASF).The head coach of BYC I, Robert Larteh, dubbed Coach Pella and the team’s 3rd Captain Francis Jallabah presented the medals and souvenir disc which contained photos of the team during the tournament, to the players, technical and support staff as well as the management of the BYC Blue Field.A logical pictorial which showcased the players during the 10-day Coca Cola Tournament at the Blue Field Award Ceremony was shown.The tournament’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) wonderful striker Van Dave-Harmon was awarded a “Sculpture with angels holding a football,” by BYC, but the Secretary General of the LFA, B. Alphonso Armah, in his remarks appealed to the BYC management for the “Sculpture” to be presented at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS) during BYC games.Mr. Armah urged the players to be disciplined and work harder.The BYC captain during the Coca Cola Tournament, Francis Jallabah, alias Stopper and midfield defensive maestro, Gideon William, dubbed D-Jon or Bad Boy were selected as the co-MVPs. Both players are 22 years.Defender Jallabah has been with BYC Football since 2003, while Gideon joined the ‘Blue Family’ on loan from Watanga FC in 2014 and has finally signed with the team.BYC President Sekou Konneh and Mr. Sirleaf, on behalf of BYC Football and RASF, presented the duo ‘plastic plagues and bag of football materials,’ including iPhones.The BYC CEO, Mr. Sirleaf said BYC despite their “though moments” is the best playing team in the country and confident the team would reclaim future titles.For his part, Mr. Konneh said the ‘spirit of togetherness’ has caused the team to clinch the maiden edition of the Coca Cola Tournament.He said the upholding of the team’s morale and spirit lies in the hands of everybody and therefore urged the players and technical staff to remain focus.The Coca Cola Cup is the eighth trophy of BYC I. The team has won three Super Cups, two Championships and two Liberian Cups (Knockout).It may be recalled that on Sunday, May 10, during the grand final of the Coca Cola tournament between BYC I and Nimba United, Van Dave Harmon’s hat trick was enough for his side BYC in their 3-1 triumph over Nimba United to lift the trophy.Elijah Golo scored Nimba United’s consolation goal from the penalty spot after a defender of BYC was booked for committing a foul against opponent Titus Cooper of Nimba United in the penalty box. BYC, dubbed ‘the Go Blue Boys’ moved to the finals after a 1-0 win over IE, converted from the spot-kick by attacking midfielder Gideon Williams.In the preliminary rounds, the Go Blue boys topped Group A with nine points, winning all her games without conceding a goal. Coach Robert Larteh’s boys whipped Nimba United 1-0; Mighty Barrolle 2-0 and LISCR FC 1-0.Sunday’s defeat over Nimba United has shown that Coach Sam Chebli needs an overhaul in the middle and front to withstand the shots.Nimba United narrowly crossed over to meet BYC through a lottery shoot against NPA Anchors, 4-0, after the 90 minutes ended in one-all.Earlier, though the Mountainous suffered her first defeat to BYC 1-0, but drew with LISCR 2-2 and pinned Mighty Barrolle 2-1.The eight participating teams were awarded certificates of participation while Nimba United received a cheque for US$1,000 as runner and BYC got US$2,000 and trophy.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more