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Saturday, 18 September 2021

Barcelona still suffer defensive problems ahead of Vallecano match

Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova will have to shuffle the leaders' defence for Saturday's trip to Rayo Vallecano, with centre back Javier Mascherano likely to be suspended for the game

Reuters, Friday 26 Oct 2012
Javier Mascherano
Mascherano (L) to miss Rayo Vallecano match through suspension (Photo: Reuters)

Mascherano was sent off in last weekend's 5-4 win at Deportivo Coruna and although the club have appealed the Argentine's dismissal, the Spanish soccer federation (RFEF) is unlikely to exonerate him.

Mascherano would join injured Spain pair Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique on the sidelines, while Brazil right back Daniel Alves has not played since being forced off in this month's 2-2 'Clasico' draw at home to Real Madrid.

Midfielders Alex Song and Sergio Busquets and fullback Adriano can fill in at centre back and 21-year-old academy graduate Marc Bartra performed solidly there in Tuesday's 2-1 comeback win at home to Celtic in the Champions League.

Barca playmaker Andres Iniesta netted his first goal of the campaign to make it 1-1 against Celtic and his remarkable record of never losing a match when he scores was preserved.

The Spain international, scorer of the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final, has 42 goals for his club in the same number of games and Barca have won 37 of those and drawn five.

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