Barcelona warm up for Man United visit with Huesca stalemate

Ernesto Valverde rings the changes as La Liga’s basement side hold the leaders

Kevin-Prince Boateng and Barcelona were held to a goalless draw by Huesca. Photograph: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty

Kevin-Prince Boateng and Barcelona were held to a goalless draw by Huesca. Photograph: Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty

 

Huesca 0 Barcelona 0

La Liga leaders Barcelona were held to a goalless draw by basement club Huesca on Saturday as coach Ernesto Valverde made sweeping changes to his line-up ahead of Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final decider against Manchester United.

The draw means second-placed Atletico Madrid could close the 12-point gap with Barcelona, who are on 74 points, if they beat Celta Vigo later on Saturday.

With the title practically assured after last weekend’s 2-0 win over Atletico, Valverde fielded a radically different side to the team that won 1-0 at Old Trafford in Wednesday’s first leg, making 10 changes and handing three players their league debuts.

Midfielder Riqui Puig was one of the debutants and the 19-year-old produced the best moment of an uneventful first half, picking out Ousmane Dembele with a wonderful pass but the forward dragged his shot wide.

Brazilian forward Malcom struck the post early in the second half and team mate Carles Alena missed the target from the rebound in Barca’s best spell after the interval, while substitutes Philippe Coutinho, Jordi Alba and Arthur Melo could not improve the leaders’ attacking threat when they came on.

Huesca desperately needed a win to keep up their slim hopes of avoiding relegation but they struggled to make much of an impact and stay rooted to the bottom of the standings with 25 points from 32 games.

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