Thu, 28 Jan 2021

MADRID, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- FC Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman has to overcome an injury crisis as his side travels to play Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Saturday saw right-back Sergi Roberto suffer a torn muscle in his right thigh that will keep him out of action for around two months, while Gerard Pique's knee injury is expected to see him sidelined for three months or longer if a meeting with a surgeon later this week determines that he needs an operation.

Sergio Busquets is also out after injuring a knee on Spain duty, while Samuel Umtiti is still unavailable due to his long-term knee problems.

Ronald Araujo is close to recovering from a muscle injury he picked up facing Juventus at the end of October, but with a busy fixture schedule until the end of January, Barca don't want to risk rushing him back. That means B-team players Ramos Mingo and Oscar Mingueza could be given a chance, although the most likely solution is for Koeman to drop Frenkie de Jong back into defense as he did on Saturday.

However, that creates a new problem: with Busquets out and with De Jong in defense, Koeman would have to find a new partner for Miralem Pjanic in central midfield, meaning that either Carles Alena or Riqui Puig - neither of whom has been in Koeman's plans this season, is in line for a start in Ukraine.

A win for Barca on Tuesday night would book their place in the last 16 of the Champions League with two games to play and allow Koeman to rest key players in their two remaining group games.

Sevilla would also just about seal their qualification for the knockout stage if they can win away to Russian side Krasnodar, but injuries and the coronavirus have also limited the options of coach Julen Lopetegui, who included five B-team players, Alfonso, Adrian, Juanlu, Carlos Alvarez and Antonio Zarzana in their squad which flew to Russia on Sunday.

Jesus Navas is suspended for the game, Suso and Marcos Acuna are injured, while Carlos Fernandez and Bono have tested positive for COVID-19 and are currently self-isolating.

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