Barcelona earned three vital points against Benfica at the Estádio da Luz in the Champions League last night, but it was a costly win as they lost captain Carles Puyol for two months.
A statement on the Barcelona web site this morning said:
Tests conducted this morning confirmed that Carles Puyol has a dislocated left elbow. The player will be submitted a conservative treatment. The estimated time for recover is approximately eight weeks.
This is just the latest in a serious of injuries that Puyol has picked up over the last two years, and makes you wonder why Barcelona have not bought another central defender in the last two summer transfer windows. They seem to be content to let Javier Mascherano play in central defence when Puyol is injured, but with Gerard Pique a serious doubt for the El Clasico this weekend, Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova is facing the first challenging decision of his career.
Will Tito partner converted midfielders Mascherano and Alex Song taking his place in the heart of the Barca defence on Sunday against Ronaldo and Higuain, or will bring in one of the unproven Barca B defenders for a match that could end Real Madrid’s title aspirations?
As for the match itself, it was a scrappy affair lit up by two superb assists from Leo Messi, who laid goals on a plate for Alexis Sánchez (6th minute) and Cesc Fàbregas (55th minute) to give Barcelona a 2-0 away victory over Benfica and put the Catalan club in pole position to advance to the Champions League knockout stage.