Football

Barcelona hit by injuries after draw

Barcelona must wait to confirm a place in the Champions League last 16 after dropping points for the first time in Group D in an absorbing 0-0 draw at Olympiakos Piraeus yesterday morning (Singapore time).

A more immediate task for Barca coach Ernesto Valverde, though, would be to deal with an injury pile-up after midfielders Andre Gomes and Sergi Roberto suffered injuries during the stalemate in Greece.

Gomes and Roberto have been ruled out for up to four and five weeks, respectively.

Roberto, a natural midfielder who also plays as a fullback, was forced off in the first half with a hamstring injury.

Gomes also ended the game with a hamstring problem even though he played only the last 15 minutes.

The Spanish league leaders, who meet Sevilla on Sunday morning (Singapore time), already have seven casualties, including captain Andres Iniesta and record signing Ousmane Dembele, who will not be available until January.

GREAT CHANCES

Yesterday morning, Valverde watched as his in-form side dominate for long spells and create some great chances, but his former team held on for their first point as they bid for a Europa League spot.

Olympiakos goalkeeper Silvio Proto was a prominent figure in a frenetic match at the Georgios Karaiskakis Stadium, coming to the rescue to deny Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on several occasions.

In the other Group D match, Gonzalo Higuain came to Juventus' rescue with an equaliser 11 minutes from time as they salvaged a 1-1 draw at Sporting Lisbon.

Sporting, the better side in the first half, took a deserved lead through Brazilian midfielder Bruno Cesar in the 20th minute.

As Juve crept back into the game, Sporting goalkeeper Rui Patricio made a brilliant save to deny Higuain in the 69th minute but was powerless to stop the Argentina forward equalising 10 minutes later.

The win kept Juventus second in Group D with seven points from four games, three ahead of their opponents, and on course for a place in the last 16. Barca lead with 10 points. - WIRE SERVICES

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