Éric Abidal has ruptured the adductor muscle on his right leg and will be out for 8 weeks. He will undergo more tests today (Sunday Feb 22nd).
Abidal clashed with Sergio Sánchez on the edge of midfield in the 22nd minute of the Espanyol game. The French player felt the pain immediately and called to be substituted. With a ruptured adductor muscle on his right leg, he will be out for 8 weeks. This Sunday, he will undergo more tests to find out how serious the injury is, and he will probably be out till the end of April, when there will be only seven league games left to play. (source)
(source) Ten-man Barcelona saw their lead at the top of the Primera Liga cut to seven points after losing 2-1 at home to bottom club Espanyol in the city's derby at the Nou Camp.
Former Barca player Ivan De La Pena did the damage with two goals shortly after the interval, when the home side were already a man down following the first-half dismissal of Seydou Keita.
Yaya Toure pulled a goal back for the home side not long after that, but Pep Guardiola's men were unable to come back this time and saw their lead cut by Real Madrid, who thrashed Real Betis 6-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Barcelona had not lost in the league since the opening day of the season, although last weekend's 2-2 draw at Real Betis ended a 10-match winning streak for Guardiola's side, and were heavy favourites against an Espanyol outfit who went bottom following last weekend's 2-0 defeat by Sevilla.
Espanyol had also failed to win a league match since early November and were without a victory at the Nou Camp in the league since 1982.
Barca began brightly and Thierry Henry almost got on the end of Xavi's cross after just six minutes.
And the Frenchman should have given his side the lead eight minutes later, but he inexplicably headed over the bar at the far post from Lionel Messi's pinpoint cross.
Henry was then denied by an alert Carlos Kameni and Xavi shot wide as Barcelona continued to threaten.
Espanyol began to settle after that and the hosts created just one more chance of note before the break, when Messi flashed an angled drive into the side netting nine minutes prior to the interval.
And three minutes later, Barca's luck took a turn for the worse as Keita was sent off for a rash challenge on Moises Hurtado.
The decision appeared harsh and the Nou Camp faithful jeered the officials off the pitch at half-time.
Now a man down, Guardiola sacrificed an attacker, Henry, for a midfielder, Sergio Busquets, at the break.
But Espanyol made their numerical advantage count as they took the lead after 50 minutes.
The visitors broke quickly through Nene, who charged into the area and held off Gerard Pique before picking out the unmarked De La Pena with a neat cross which the Espanyol playmaker nodded home from close range.
De La Pena is something of a Barcelona icon after coming through the youth team and starring in Johan Cruyff's much-lauded `Dream Team' in the late nineties.
The midfielder has since become a cult figure at Espanyol, but has struggled with a series of injuries this season and was making his first start since returning from his latest setback.
And the 32 year-old doubled Espanyol's lead with a touch of class four minutes later.
Pique passed back to Valdes and the latter's shocking clearance fell to the alert De La Pena, who took one touch and chipped a brilliant shot over the Barca keeper from just outside the box to give Espanyol an improbable two-goal lead.
The home side looked down and out now, but Yaya Toure gave them a lifeline after 62 minutes, when he pounced on a rebound and crashed a powerful left-foot shot past Kameni on the turn.
Barcelona have come back on numerous occasions this season and Espanyol were nervously sitting back on their lead.
The home side began to take more risks late on and substitute Eidur Gudjohnsen came close to grabbing an equaliser at the death.
Pep: "We'll get back up again, dust ourselves down and get on with the job. I'm in no doubt."
- "Nobody said it would be easy, but we're still in a strong position. We've lost a game, but we still have a good lead."
- "We have to win a lot of games and continue fighting till the end. This defeat came when it came. Now we have to get back up and face Madrid next week. The league will eventually be ours."
- "The game lacked rhythm. It's difficult to achieve this when there are so many fouls".
- "It's not my job to judge referees. When we lose it’s our fault. The referee already knows what he has done."
- About Abidal's injury: "His injury is really bad news. But we have Puyol, Sylvinho, players from Barça Atletic. I'm in no doubt we'll keep going forward".
Messi: "We couldn't play our game."
- "It was a difficult game."
- "With one player down, it's difficult to move the ball around as we like to."
- "The sending-off was an unfair decision that changed the rest of the game. We’d been on top till then. The referee changed the course of the game."
- "We have an important lead, and we need to continue working in the same way we have been till now."
- "We'll be more united than ever."
- "It's good we have the Champions coming up."
Xavi: "It was a very tense game."
- "The sending-off was excessive and it affected us. Seydou Keita hadn't gone in maliciously and a yellow card would have been enough. It was key to the rest of the game. The referee ruined the game."
- "Referees are only human and they can make mistakes."
- "With ten players it was difficult to dominate the game."
- "There were a lot of stoppages – about 15 minutes each half and it’s a shame."
- "When they got the second, we moved forward and managed to get one back."
Valdés: "When it was 1-2 they tried to kill the game."
- "The sending-off was key, because there was still a lot to play."
- "Our game is based on speed. Espanyol came to play their way and they killed the game."
- "The error of letting in a second goal was important, but we responded well."
Piqué: "Being seven points clear after 24 games is great. Everything is going well. We have to keep playing the same way."
- "It was logical that we would eventually lose a game."
- "Referees do their job, and they sometimes make mistakes. It might have made a difference, but I don't want to give it too much importance."
- "A defeat always hurts, especially as it was against Espanyol."
- "The crowd was behind us, putting pressure on the referee, which was important."
- "We had a series of games in January which other teams didn't have."
- "In Lyon we have to show that we're going to win the Champions League."
In no particular order.
He's only laughing 'cause he has no idea what just happened. Neither do I. =/