Lionel Messi was the major absentee for Barcelona in the recent match against Sporting Gijon. Even though Barcelona managed to win the match 3-1 in the end, Barcelona midfielder Andreas Iniesta said that they should be working a lot more in the absence of star striker Lionel Messi in order to get results more easily.
Barcelona have been struggling a lot in the domestic league this season and they are currently 10 points behind leaders Real Madrid. They were facing Sporting Gijon in one of the greatest tests for Barcelona in recent seasons mainly due to the absence of Lionel Messi, who was suspended after picking up his fifth yellow card of the season.
Andreas Iniesta was seen as the star for the Catalan club in the match against Sporting Gijon, and he did not fail to live up to the expectations. However, it took the efforts of Seydou Keita and Xavi in the end in order to seal the victory for Barcelona. Barcelona were reduced to 10 men in the match after defender Gerard Pique was sent off in the match. It provided the impetus for Sporting Gijon to attack Barcelona in the match, who had taken the lead through Andreas Iniesta in the first half.
“When an important player like Messi can’t play, we all must try a bit harder. The game got tough after the referee’s decision [to dismiss Pique], but we had to attack. Our necessity is winning three points week after week. The gap is considerable, but we have to fight until the end. [But] once again, the team played some great football,” said Iniesta was quoted as saying on the official website of Barcelona.
One of the betting sites was also reporting that Iniesta said “without Messi our odds drop to those of almost any normal team, but with him we are seen as practically invincible.”
Barcelona will now be facing Bayern Leverkusen in the second leg of the Champions League – a tie in which the lead 3-1 from the first leg, and, with Messi back in the team, it is one the football betting markets are predicting will be an easy Barcelona win.