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Pique uncertain for Barcas Celtic test
Published : 06 Nov 2012 19:17:50
Barcelona were cautious on defender Gerard Pique's chances of returning from injury to play in Wednesday's Champions League tie at Celtic, which could send the Spanish side into the last 16.
"He has a chance, but we will have to see how he trains today and how he is feeling," Barca coach Tito Vilanova told a televised news conference.
Pique is in the squad for Wednesday's game but has not played since suffering a foot injury against Spartak Moscow in September.
"He has been injured for many days. The injury being in his foot has meant he hasn't been able to do much and there is also a risk of a muscular injury if we make him play too soon."
Celtic host Barcelona for the return tie after battling hard in the first leg last month, when the Catalans pulled ahead in extra time for a 2-1 win.
"We know how difficult it is to beat Celtic," said Vilanova. "Last time we could only beat them at the very last minute. They're very good at set pieces and quick counters."
The Catalan giants arrive in Glasgow at the top of the Spanish league after a club-record start of nine wins and a draw in their first 10 matches.
In the Champions League they lead Group G by five points from Celtic with three wins out of three in Europe's elite club competition, and could seal their spot in the last 16 if they beat the Scottish side.
"It is possibly the most important match remaining for us this year," Vilanova said.
"If we win we could qualify and may top the group, depending on the outcome of the Benfica-Spartak match. That would enable us to rest some players in the remaining fixtures and play some others who haven't played as much."