Published: Sun, April 14, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

Messi knew it was an ancident, says Smalling

Messi knew it was an ancident, says Smalling

Still bottom of the table in their first-ever season in Spain's top flight, Huesca now sit five adrift of safety, albeit having played a game more than those immediately above them.

Given the relative weakness of the weekend's opposition, coach Massimiliano Allegri may not want to risk Ronaldo ahead of Tuesday's Champions League decider and could rotate his side.

The 32-year-old has been a key player for Barcelona since then. However, they've played Barcelona in the 2014/15 season as well, and were thoroughly humbled by the side.

Barcelona heads to Manchester United on Wednesday to face the Red Devils for the first time in the Champions League since it won the 2011 final.

Argentinian Paolo Dybala and Italian youngster Kean started up front in the absence of Ronaldo and with usual strike partner Mario Mandzukic also rested. United failed to register a single shot on target but know they missed a lot of opportunities that could have helped them travel Nou Camp with a goal in hand.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Thursday, Smalling said he had a "brief chat" with Messi after the game at Old Trafford.

"The more he plays, the better shape he gets into".

While Juve have been made to wait to extend their domestic coronation to 35 titles, the prize the club really craves is the Champions League.

Kean broke the deadlock when he redirected a tame Juan Cancelo drive, thrusting out his right boot to turn the ball beyond Emiliano Viviano.

Messi has scored 43 goals and created a further 21 strikes in 40 matches across all competitions for the Blaugrana thus far this season.

Former Arsenal forward Stephy Mavididi, 20, came on for Kean midway through the second half for his debut before Floccari fired in the victor after 74 minutes.

Bernardeschi also came off the bench in place of Barzagli, as Allegri pushed for a point, with ten minutes to go.

Juventus beat SPAL 2-0 in November.

However, Barcelona can't be complacent after United's heroics in the second leg of the Champions League round-of-16 against PSG.

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