Sun, April 17, 2011
Sports > Soccer

Puyol doubtful for Cup final with hamstring injury

2011-04-17 11:21:52 GMT2011-04-17 19:21:52(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MADRID, April 17 (Xinhua) -- Barcelona captain Carles Puyol is a major doubt for the final of the Copa del Rey this Wednesday after suffering a muscle injury during the second half of his side's 1-1 draw away to Real Madrid on Saturday night.

Puyol had to be carried off the pitch just before the hour of the game, which was decided by goals from Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, after feeling a pain in his left hamstring. He was replaced by midfielder Seydou Keita.

The Barcelona captain was a surprise inclusion in the Barcelona starting 11 after having missed the past three months with a knee injury and had added pace and aggression to a defense which is still without French defender Eric Abidal, who had a tumor removed from his liver last month.

Puyol will undergo tests, but with the final of the Copa del Rey, which is also against Real Madrid, to be played on Wednesday, he has very little time to recover, even though Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola was confident that his injury was not serious.

"He has made a big effort. I think it is just a small strain which has happened because he has been out of action for so long, the state of the pitch and the tension of the game. I don't think it is serious and we will try to have him fit for future matches," said Guardiola.

The good news for Barcelona is that Javier Mascherano will be available to play on Wednesday. The Argentinean was suspended for Saturday's match after completing a cycle of five bookings in the BBVA Primera Liga.

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