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Updated: April 19, 2010 15:08 IST

Barcelona facing gruelling trip for Inter semifinal

AP
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Barcelona's coach Josep Guardiola gets in to the team bus before his trip to Milan for the first leg of the Champions League semifinal match.
AP Barcelona's coach Josep Guardiola gets in to the team bus before his trip to Milan for the first leg of the Champions League semifinal match.

Barcelona will have to overcome the absence of Andres Iniesta and a gruelling road trip when it continues its Champions League defence with a semifinal match at Inter Milan on Tuesday.

The Spanish powerhouse is favourite to win the title and become the first team since AC Milan in 1990 to be European champion for a second straight season.

But it will be making the 725-kilometre journey to northern Italy by bus over two days because of the cloud of volcanic ash from Iceland that has grounded flights throughout Europe.

And key midfielder Iniesta will not be in the squad for the first leg after a recurrence of a right thigh injury that already kept him out of the starting line-up for the quarterfinal victory over Arsenal.

Inter will be grateful for any assistance from circumstances after watching Barcelona beat Arsenal 6-3 on aggregate.

Lionel Messi sat out training on Sunday but is in coach Pep Guardiola’s 20-man squad and is set to start, two weeks after scoring all four goals in the 4-1 second leg win over the Gunners.

With leftback Eric Abidal back in the squad after recovering from a thigh injury, Iniesta is the only high-profile absentee.

The 25-year-old Spain international was hurt on March 27. He returned as a second-half substitute in the 4-1 win over Arsenal and subsequent Spanish league win over Real Madrid, but is out for a month after he broke down again this week.

Bayern Munich, which won the last of its four titles in 2001, hosts Lyon on Wednesday in the first leg of the other semifinal.

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