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Samuel Umtiti’s bid to be fit for the Champions League last-16 trip to Lyon has gathered momentum with the defender returning to Barcelona training. Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti appears to be closing in on a return from a lengthy knee injury. France international Umtiti completed part of Friday’s session as he steps up his recovery from a persistent knee problem, which has blighted his season. The centre-back has not since November’s 1-1 draw with Atletico but recently declared his desire to be available for the Lyon tie. Umtiti joined Barca from the Ligue 1 side in 2016, where in five years as a player and made 170 first-team appearances.

Image result for umtiti barcelonaTherefore, the 25-year is especially keen to return in time for the encounter at Groupama Stadium on February 19. Clement Lenglet has been Ernesto Valverde’s preferred partner for Gerard Pique in Umtiti’s absence. The defender started in the 1-1 midweek draw against Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey, and has been a regular in the side for the past few months.

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The experienced Thomas Vermaelen filled the role at home to Valencia last weekend and could be considered an option to face Lyon if Umtiti does not recover in time. It is not all good news on the injury front for the La Liga leaders, however, with midfielder Athur expected to miss around a month after sustaining a hamstring injury.

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Munir El Haddadi from Spain during the FC Barcelona training session before the Spanish Supercopa game against Sevilla FC in Tanger. At Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, Barcelona on 11 of August of 2018. (Photo by Xavier Bonilla/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Barca will be hoping to return to winning ways this weekend when they face Valencia. The Spanish champions ended a run of eight straight games without a win in the 2-2 draw, but had to come from two goals behind to earn any points. The Catalan side take a six-point advantage at the top into Sunday’s visit to Athletic Bilbao, who are only three points clear of the relegation zone.

Barcelona could be on for another historic treble this season, with Valverde’s men still fighting for trophies on three fronts. However, if they are to do this, much could depend on the fitness of Lionel Messi. The Argentine was used in Wednesday night’s draw with Real but did not seem fit and struggled to create his usual magic.

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Abass Sulaiman Adegoke, well known as Adegoke is a student of Federal Polytechnic Ede studying Civil Engineering, He is a media enthusiast, loves traveling, and has a special interest in personal development.

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Champions League: UEFA reacts as CAS overturns Man City’s ban

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UEFA has reacted to the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), to overturn Manchester City’s two-year ban from European competitions.

The ruling means City will play in the Champions League next season.

The former English champions have also had their fine reduced from £25million to £8.9million.

City had been banned by UEFA for breaking Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, but have had the decision overturned by CAS.

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However, a statement from European football’s governing body on Monday, showed they were not happy with what they see as many of City’s alleged breaches being “time-barred.”

“UEFA notes that the CAS panel found that there was insufficient conclusive evidence to uphold all of the CFCB’s conclusions in this specific case and that many of the alleged breaches were time-barred due to the 5 year time period foreseen in the UEFA regulations.

“Over the last few years, Financial Fair Play has played a significant role in protecting clubs and helping them become financially sustainable and UEFA and ECA remain committed to its principles,” part of UEFA’s statement read.

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Champions League: What CAS verdict on Man City’s ban means for Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal

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On Monday morning, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), overturned Manchester City’s two-year ban from the Champions League.

UEFA’s Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) in February, handed the ban to the Etihad club, claiming it had breached Financial Fair Play (FFP) regulations between 2012 and 2016.

CAS in a statement explained that “Manchester City FC did not disguise equity funding as sponsorship contributions, but did fail to cooperate with the Uefa authorities.”

It further reduced City’s original fine of 30m euros (£26.9m) to 10m euros.

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Beyond the lifting of suspension and reduction of fines, today’s verdict has different implications for some of the top clubs in the Premier League.

First, it means that only two Champions League slots are available in England now, with champions Liverpool and City already qualified.

Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Tottenham on Sunday, now means they cannot qualify for Europe’s biggest club competition officially.

However, Manchester United can make a late run for the top four places, if they continue their fine run of form with a win over Southampton on Monday night.

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Chelsea were humiliated 3-0 by Sheffield United last week, but Leicester’s 4-1 defeat against Bournemouth has given them fresh optimism.

The Foxes are now obvious candidates to drop out of the race for Champions League places altogether, especially with their tricky run-in.

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