Highlights: Xavi’s options thinned as devastated Barcelona starlet limps off, before last-gasp ‘Mini Clasico’ equaliser
The personnel woes facing Spanish giants FC Barcelona have continued to mount on Saturday, after one of the club’s up-and-coming young stars was forced to depart the pitch in evident distress.
The player to have limped off? Alejandro Balde.
Balde, who has featured regularly in the first-team setup of the Blaugrana on his way to six appearances across all competitions this season, was handed a start for the club’s B team in their ‘Mini Clasico’ showdown with Real Madrid Castilla this evening.
The gifted left-back, however, pulled up with what appeared to be an ankle problem following a heavy challenge just ten minutes into proceedings.
After being tended to by Barca’s medical team, Balde, in turn, was left with little choice but to make his way off the pitch, ahead of undergoing scans over the days ahead to ascertain the extent of the damage:
Alejandro Balde devastated after picking up injury 😔 pic.twitter.com/bDyYSVeJLO
— 9CAMPNOU (@9Campnou) January 29, 2022
The immediate assumption is that Balde will face at least some form of spell on the sidelines over the coming weeks, further thinning the options of first-team boss Xavi, and potentially forcing the powers that be at the Camp Nou to ramp up their pursuit of left-back reinforcements.
Whilst Barcelona B’s evening may have started out in disappointing fashion on Saturday, it ended on an altogether more positive note.
This comes with the Catalans, after losing key man Balde, having also slipped not one, but two goals behind to their Real Madrid counterparts.
But Sergi Barjuan’s men simply refused to give up.
First, Matheus Pereira pulled one back for the Blaugrana courtesy of a sumptuous left-footed strike from distance, before Jordi Escobar ensured that the spoils would be shared in the latest edition of the Clasico with an injury-time equaliser from close range.
Check out highlights of Saturday’s pulsating matchup below:
When Ansu Fati is expected to return for FC Barcelona
Why Barcelona decided against signing Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling