Messi expected to miss two weeks

BY foxsports • September 19, 2010

Champions Barcelona got their title bid back on track with a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon on Sunday, but lost superstar striker Lionel Messi to a late-game injury.

First-half goals from Messi and Spain World Cup star Gerard Pique inflicted a first defeat of the season on Atletico.

It was Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola's first win at Atletico, which had a maximum six points before kickoff, and his side climbed to fifth, a point behind Real Madrid and three points off Valencia.

His joy, however, was tempered by seeing Messi stretchered off in the final minute after having his ankle kicked by Czech defender Tomasz Ujfalusi, who was sent off for the tackle.

"We are happy with the win but sad about Messi," Guardiola said.

"The TV pictures speak for themselves. It is not only Cristiano Ronaldo (of Real Madrid) who needs protecting. The referees should protect all the players."

The Barcelona star striker is expected to miss up to two weeks with damaged ankle ligaments, according to club doctors. The injury may rule him out of league matches against Sporting Gijon, Real Mallorca and Athletic Bilbao along with the Champions League trip to Rubin Kazan on Sept. 29.

Earlier, Valencia replaced Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, winning 2-1 at promoted Hercules to make it a perfect nine-point start to the season.

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