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Barça hit by Villa blow


TOKYO — Barcelona forward David Villa fractured his leg during the Fifa Club World Cup semi-final against Al Sadd of Qatar yesterday, the Spanish champions said.

“Bad news for David Villa and Barça, the striker’s left tibia is fractured,” Barcelona said on their Twitter feed.

“The player has been taken to the Yokohama Rosa hospital for further tests.”

Barça said it was the first injury Villa had sustained since joining the club from Valencia last year.

The news is a blow for Barça coach Pep Guardiola as they pursue titles in the Club World Cup, La Liga, the Champions League and the King’s Cup this season.

Spain coach Vicente del Bosque will also be concerned as Villa is the country’s leading striker looking ahead to the defence of their title at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

The 30-year-old is Spain’s all-time top scorer with 50 goals in 81 appearances and played a central role in them winning the World Cup in South Africa last year.

In the match, Adriano scored twice as Barcelona brushed aside the feeble challenge of Al-Sadd in Yokohama to set up a final meeting with Santos on Sunday.

The European champions were in complete control from the first whistle to the last, although they were given a helping hand by Al-Sadd goalkeeper Mohamed Saqr.

Saqr’s hesitation presented the opener to Adriano, who fired a second under the body of the keeper to make it 2-0 at the break. Seydou Keïta and Maxwell added another two in the second half to complete a comprehensive win.

The first goal, when it came, in the 25th minute was a gift. Pedro’s cross from the left was too long and touched back to Saqr by Nadir Belhadj at the far post.

Perhaps expecting the former Portsmouth man to just clear the danger, which would have been the sensible option, Saqr hesitated and when he did finally react could only stab his clearance into the legs of the onrushing Adriano and the ball rebounded into the net.

Villa followed in to score after Andres Iniesta’s fierce shot had been pushed away by Saqr, but the effort was correctly ruled out for offside.

The Spain forward then had to go off after picking up an injury in a tackle — later diagnosed as a fractured left tibia — with Alexis Sanchez coming on. The Qataris could barely get a touch and Adriano grabbed his second two minutes before the break with Saqr again at fault.

Thiago Alcantara played him in down the right of the area and Adriano cut inside and fired home a shot which crept under the keeper’s dive. Iniesta then had an attempt blocked after fashioning a shooting chance.

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