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He Elche receive this Sunday at Barcelona in a meeting in which he intends to take advantage the absence of Argentine Lionel Messi and the exhaustion of his rival, who cannot afford to give up any more ground in the battle for the championship.
The local team arrives at the game rearmed with troops after recovering injured and sanctioned, while Barcelona, in addition to not having its great star due to suspension, accumulates significant physical wear as a consequence of having disputed three extensions in just ten days.
Barcelona, despite its difficulty, seems more human than ever this season, in which it has left points against low-profile rivals, such as Cádiz, Alavés and Eibar, so those directed by Jorge Almirón hope to surprise, with the intention of also supplying a huge boost of morale for a team that struggle to get out of the relegation zone.
Coach recovers midfielder Iván Marcone for this commitment, sanctioned last day, and Nuke Mfulu, Luismi Sánchez, Dani Calvo and Tete Morente, who have already overcome different physical problems.
He Barcelonameanwhile, he hopes to extend his streak of three consecutive victories in La Liga and add another triumph in his visit to Martínez Valero, despite the absence of his captain Lionel Messi.
Those of Koeman, they come to the game with a bittersweet taste. The defeat in the final of the Spanish Super Cup, last Sunday, against Athletic Club (2-3) overshadowed the league regularity that the team had shown in 2021, adding three consecutive victories at home in Huesca (0-1), Granada (0-4) and against Athletic itself (2-3).
Now, after suffering to eliminate Cornellá (0-2) in the Copa del Rey, the culés arrive in Elche classified for the round of 16 and with their minds already set on the championship, where they aspire to continue cutting the difference points that separates them from the leader, the Athletic, and of Real Madrid.
To achieve this, the Dutch coach will have to rebuild the team, due to the absence of the Argentine, who He is serving his second and last game of suspension due to his expulsion in the final of the Super Cup.
This sensitive low adds to long-term injuries of the defenders Gerard Piqué and Sergi Roberto, and the attackers Philippe Coutinho and Ansu fati. On the other hand, the full-back Sergiño Dest, absent against Cornellà due to muscle discomfort in his right leg, is already training normally and has entered the call.
Elche: Edgar Badía; Barragan; Gonzalo Verdú, Josema, Mojica; Josan, Marcone, Guti, Rigoni, Pere Milla and Lucas Boyé.
FC Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Busquets, De Jong, Pedri; Braithawaite, Griezmann and Dembélé.
TIME: 15:15 GMT (12:15 ARG-URU / 11:15 CHI / 10:15 COL-PER-MEX)
TV: ESPN 2
STADIUM: Martinez Valero
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