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Friday, 26 February 2021

Captain Iniesta back for Barcelona for trip to Getafe

Reuters , Friday 30 Oct 2015
Andres Iniesta
Barcelona's Andres Iniesta, right, controls the ball as Leverkusen's Kevin Kampl, center, tries to stop him during a Champions League Group E soccer match between Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen at Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2015 (AP)
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Barcelona have captain Andres Iniesta back in the squad for Saturday's trip to Getafe in La Liga to help the champions try to avoid another slip-up like the 0-0 draw they suffered there last season.

Iniesta has not featured since damaging a thigh muscle at the end of September and Barca have missed the Spain playmaker's creativity and the control he gives them in midfield, especially with talisman Lionel Messi also sidelined.

Coach Luis Enrique has both Iniesta and fellow midfielder Sergi Roberto available for the Getafe game but will be without centre back Javier Mascherano, who has been suspended for two matches following last weekend's red card.

Barca were missing Brazil forward Neymar, who has been in fine form in Messi's absence, when they failed to beat Getafe last December and Luis Enrique is expecting another stubborn performance from the modest Madrid club.

"It's always tough playing at Getafe," he told a news conference after training on Friday.

"We are expecting a typical performance from a team coached by (Fran) Escriba: well organised in defence and with quality in attack," added the former Barca and Spain midfielder.

Barca, chasing a sixth Spanish league title in eight years, are joint top on 21 points from nine matches with arch rivals Real Madrid, who host promoted Las Palmas on Saturday.

Luis Enrique's side have lost their last two away games in La Liga, going down 4-1 at Celta Vigo and 2-1 at Sevilla, but should have too much quality for Getafe, who are 13th.

Neymar and fellow South American forward Luis Suarez have been rattling in the goals and Suarez hit a hat-trick against Eibar last weekend following Neymar's four-goal haul against Rayo Vallecano a week earlier.

Luis Enrique reacted testily to a question about next month's La Liga 'Clasico' at Real, saying he was only focused on Saturday's game.

"The immediate objective is to go to Getafe and win and improve our play," he told reporters.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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