Barca fail to beat Huesca without Messi, Suarez, Pique & Co

Barca fail to beat Huesca without Messi, Suarez, Pique & Co

Barcelona failed to relegated threaten Huesca with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitic and Co after a goalless draw at El Alcoraz Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

Messi was left out of the squad altogether, while Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez were missing through suspension and Sergi Roberto, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic were rested with knocks ahead of Champions League quarter-final clash with Manchester United second leg at Nou Camp on Tuesday.

Ousmane Dembele returned for his first start since aggravating an injury against Lyon in the last 16 of the Champions League in March and the French winger missed the best chance of the game as he saw his shot saved by Roberto Santamaria with only the Huesca goalkeeper to beat from close range in the first half.

That opportunity was set up by 19-year-old midfielder Riqui Puig, who showed plenty of quality in the centre of the park for Barca, although he and Carles Alena sometimes struggled in a physical battle against the Aragonese outfit.

Malcom hit the post in the second half on what was an otherwise quiet afternoon for the Brazilian as Barca pushed for a winner late in the game.

Coach Ernesto Valverde sent on Philippe Coutinho, Jordi Alba and Arthur in the closing stages, but the LaLiga leaders could not find a breakthrough and the game ended goalless.

Barcelona one point closer to the title, now needing to win just three of their remaining six fixtures to retain their Liga crown, while Huesca remains rooted to the bottom, five points behind 17th-place Valladolid.

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