Barcelona Left With No Fit Right-Backs For Elche Clash

Sergino Dest

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Barcelona will face Elche on Sunday in La Liga with no fit senior right-backs after Sergino Dest joined Sergi Roberto on the sidelines.

The 20-year-old USMNT defender was forced off at half-time of Sunday’s Spanish Super Cup final defeat to Athletic in Seville and was subsequently ruled out of Thursday’s Copa del Rey win over Cornella.

Dest is not expected back in time to face Elche either, according to Javi Miguel at AS. The defender missed training on Friday and is likely to be replaced in the starting XI by center-back Oscar Mingueza.

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Koeman Discusses Dest Injury

Coach Ronald Koeman offered an update on Dest and Roberto’s fitness before Thursday’s win at Cornella. Roberto has been out of action since November but is closing in on a return to full fitness.

With regard to Dest yes it’s true he’s not available for tomorrow. I don’t know if he will be available for Sunday, we’ll see. Sergi Roberto is training individually again, maybe next week he can train with the group and then it’ll depend on how he feels physically. We will make those decisions later on. He’s working hard and doesn’t have a long way to go to get back.

Barca will also be without captain Lionel Messi again on Sunday due to suspension. The Argentine was hit with a two-match ban following his red card in the final of the Spanish Super Cup and served the first game of his ban against Cornella.

The Catalan giants appealed the decision but have since confirmed the Spanish FA has upheld its original decision, meaning Messi will have to sit out the trip to the La Liga strugglers too.


Elche Boss Talks Barcelona Test

Elche boss Jorge Almiron previewed Sunday’s match against the Catalan giants in his pre-match press conference and admitted the absence of Messi will make a difference for both sides.

That Leo Messi is not there changes things. It is one thing with Messi and another without Messi. Although they have a great team, it will be difficult, but not impossible We have to be smart and focused because they are decisive in each play. You have to be positive, there are many games to go and the team will improve.

Messi had been in good form in La Liga before his ban having scored four goals in two games against Athletic and Granada. Barca will look to Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite to provide the goals in his absence.

Almiron’s side head into the game in the bottom three and with just three wins to their name all season. Elche have not won in the league since all the way back in October, and anything other than a comfortable away win will be seen as a surprise.

READ NEXT: Koeman Explains Why He Subbed Riqui Puig at Half-Time


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