Football

Barcelona dealt new Dembele injury blow

Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele has been ruled out for "three to four weeks" in a new blow for the French forward, his club announced yesterday.

Dembele hurt himself after coming off the bench in the second half of yesterday morning's (Singapore time) 4-2 win away to Real Sociedad in La Liga.

The injury is different to the hamstring tear that ruled him out for three-and-half months, Barcelona said in a statement.

He now faces a race against time to be ready for the first leg of Barcelona's Champions League tie against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Feb 20.

Dembele returned only at the start of this month after tearing his hamstring in September.

The fitness problems have blighted the start of his career at Barcelona following his 105-million-euro (S$170.5m) move from Borussia Dortmund in August that could rise to as much as 145 million euros.

Barcelona also said that Andres Iniesta "has a problem in his right calf and his recovery will determine his return to action for the coming matches".

Iniesta was an unused substitute in yesterday morning's game as Barcelona came from two goals down to win 4-2 at Anoeta.

Ernesto Valverde's side are already unable to call on new record-signing Philippe Coutinho until the end of the month after he arrived with a thigh injury following his Spanish record 160-million-euro transfer from Liverpool.

Barcelona had gone behind to first-half goals from Sociedad's Willian Jose and Juanmi yesterday, before they mounted a splendid fightback.

Midfielder Paulinho pulled one back for Barcelona six minutes before the break. Forward Luis Suarez then struck in the 50th and 71st minutes to put the visitors ahead.

A superb free-kick by Lionel Messi five minutes from time completed the scoreline, which ensures they maintain a nine-point cushion at the top of the table. - AFP

Football