0Shares0000FBarcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has admitted Lionel Messi played in a friendly against Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday due to a “contractual issue” even though the striker was left out of last weekend’s loss to Levante © AFP/File / PHILL MAGAKOEBARCELONA, Spain, May 19 – Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde has admitted Lionel Messi played in a friendly against Mamelodi Sundowns on Wednesday due to a “contractual issue” even though the striker was left out of last weekend’s loss to Levante.Levante’s shock 5-4 victory ended Barca’s hopes of completing their first ever unbeaten La Liga season in what was their 37th, and penultimate, match of the campaign. The result placed added scrutiny on Valverde’s decision to rest Messi, who was not even included on the bench at the City of Valencia Stadium, as Barca chased an equaliser in the final 20 minutes.But Messi did come on as a substitute in South Africa three days later as Barca took part in a friendly to contribute to celebrations marking 100 years since the birth of Nelson Mandela.“In South Africa I played him for 15 minutes because of a contractual issue,” Valverde said on Saturday. “But he has helped us a lot and the idea now is to rest him.”Messi has made 57 appearances for club and country this season and with Barcelona’s domestic double already confirmed, his next focus is Argentina and this summer’s World Cup.Valverde indicated Messi is also likely to be spared Sunday’s final league game of the season at home to Real Sociedad.“Messi has played a lot of big matches, even sometimes playing with discomfort,” Valverde said. “Now the plan is to rest him a little.”Barca will be hoping to finish on a high against Real Sociedad as Andres Iniesta plays his final game for the club.Iniesta joined Barcelona’s academy 22 years ago and Valverde accepts the Spaniard will be impossible to replace.“We shouldn’t make the mistake of trying to find an Iniesta replica because we’re never going to find one,” Valverde said. “We will all have to make up for his absence together.”0Shares0000(Visited 2 times, 1 visits today)
Story Links Box Score (PDF) “It still remains an amazing season for Drake volleyball,” McBroom said. “They’ve taken such huge strides and this team has done some much to elevate Drake volleyball. It has been an amazing season and it’s unfortunate it had to end on a negative note. Full Schedule Roster Drake (23-10, 12-6 MVC) was paced by Odessa Cody’s (Chicago, Ill.) 11 kills on 27 attempts while Cathryn Cheek (Coppell, Texas) added 10 kills. Paige Aspinwall (Dayton, Minn.) posted a double-double with 21 assists and 10 digs for her ninth double-double of the season and third against Indiana State. Photos nNORMAL, Ill. – The Drake University volleyball team’s appearance in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament was cut short by Indiana State as the Sycamores swept the Bulldogs, 3-0, in Thursday evening’s quarterfinal contest. Box Score (HTML) Neither led by more than three points in the second set until ISU took a 17-12 lead before Drake rattled off five-straight points, four of them from the combined efforts of Cheek and Fry to tie the match at 17-17. Each team clawed for every successive point with neither able to accumulate a two-point cushion until a kill from ISU’s Nikkie White gave the Sycamores a 30-28 advantage for a 2-0 lead in the match that they would put away in the third set. Print Friendly Version The Bulldogs’ MVC Tournament appearance was their first since 2010 and first meeting with Indiana State in the six-team tournament field. The tournament berth came following one of the most successful regular seasons in program history as the team’s 23 wins are the third most in program history and most since 2010. Additionally, the team’s 12 conference wins were the second most by the program in an 18-game MVC schedule. Earlier in the day Thursday, Nov. 23, three Bulldogs collected All-MVC honors as senior Kyla Inderski (Urbandale, Iowa) and junior Cathryn Cheek (Coppell, Texas) earned first team All-MVC honors while Emily Plock (Altoona, Iowa) was named to the All-Freshman team. Inderski and Cheek’s inclusion on the first team marked just the second time in program history and the first since 1996 that two Bulldogs have earned first-team honors. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 6-1 lead in the first set behind Aspinwall’s serving with four of those points coming via kills. The Sycamores pulled back within two points quickly at 8-6 and a later 5-0 run capped by back-to-back blocks tied the match at 14-14. The match proceeded neck-and-neck until three-straight points gave the Sycamores their first lead of the match at 21-20 to force a Drake timeout. Those three points were part of a larger 7-3 run that Indiana State used to pull away for a 25-23 win in the first set. Gross had three of her four kills for ISU in the first set during that span. After falling behind by a two sets to none margin in the match, Drake’s offense was unable to get in gear following the intermission and hit .091 in the third set with Indiana State using a 7-0 run to take a 19-11 lead late en route to the 25-19 set win. “Indiana State came out and played very well and executed,” said Drake head coach Darrin McBroom. “We came out tentative after the first set and once we started playing tentative, we couldn’t find rhythm and get into our game.” “I’m so proud of Odessa Cody,” McBroom said. “She hasn’t gotten a lot of attention or honors, but she’s someone who walked on four years ago, earned a starting role last year then tonight in her final match had an outstanding performance. She did a phenomenal job for our team tonight.” The Sycamores prevailed by set scores of 25-23, 30-28 and 25-19 while hitting .206 with two players in double-figure kills.