Defensive worries as Barcelona prepare to meet Getafe

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Barcelona, Feb 10 (IANS) FC Barcelona chief coach Ernesto Valverde has to overcome a defensive problem if he is to end a good week for the Catalan football giants on a positive note as they host Getafe in the La Liga on Sunday.

Barcelona kicked off the week with a 1-1 draw away to Espanyol and then defeated Valencia 2-0 to seal their place in their fifth successive Cup final, reports Xinhua news agency.

However, those results came at a price with Samuel Umtiti picking up a booking at the weekend which means he is suspended for Sunday’s visit of Getafe, while Gerard Pique was injured following a bad challenge from Espanyol’s Gerard Moreno.

Pique pushed himself to play in Valencia, but had to leave the pitch seven minutes from time and is unlikely to be fit for Sunday, while Tojmas Vermaelen has still not recovered from a muscle injury.

That means Valverde has the recently-arrived Yerry Mina, who replaced Pique on Thursday to make his Barcelona debut, as his only fit central defender and will have to improvise with perhaps Lucas Digne filling in alongside Mina.

Getafe will be without the injured Markel Bergara in midfield but Barcelona’s makeshift defence will have to beware of the partnership of Jorge Molina and Angel Rodriguez, who combine well in attack.

Angel has eight goals this season and his understanding with Molina has been vital to Getafe’ s season, although coach Pepe Bordalas may opt to play an extra man in central midfield.

Meanwhile attacking midfielder Phillipe Coutinho is in line to start after a decisive second half display as substitute in Valencia with the disappointing Andre Gomez likely to make way for the Brazilian, who arrived from Liverpool in January.



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