Blow for Erik ten Hag as UEFA confirm Man Utd star can’t play in Barcelona clash

Marcel Sabitzer has now joined Lisandro Martinez in being suspended for Manchester United’s clash with Barcelona.

United visit the Camp Nou on Thursday for the first leg of their huge Europa League play-off tie, as Erik ten Hag and Xavi Hernandez’s teams square off for a place in the last 16.

While Xavi will be without Sergio Busquets and winger Ousmane Dembele, Ten Hag has now learned that he’ll be missing a key duo of his own.

It’s long been known that Argentina defender Martinez won’t play in Spain after picking up three yellow cards in the group stage of the competition.

His third booking – one which many fans believe was a soft decision – came during the club’s 1-0 win away to Real Sociedad, a result which wasn’t enough to see them finish group stage as winnners and ensure automatic qualification to the round of 16.

Now he’ll be joined on the sidelines by Sabitzer, whose three bookings in the Champions League group stage carry over to the Europa League.

The Austrian midfielder, who recently signed for the Red Devils on loan until the end of the season, was yellow carded three times while playing for parent club Bayern Munich this season.

As outlined by UEFA rule 52.03, Sabitzer is banned from facing Barcelona in the first leg but can play when the two clubs meet again at Old Trafford a week later on the 23rd.

With Casemiro likely to partner Brazilian compatriot Fred in midfield, Sabitzer’s omission isn’t a huge blow but does mean that they may not be able to call on any senior midfielders from the bench.

Christian Eriksen and van de Beek have been sidelined until April and next campaign respectively, while McTominay has missed the last five games through injury.


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