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Mar 4, 2013

Sendings-off spark Barca 'keeper shortage

Barcelona could begin Saturday's home game against Deportivo La Coruna with their fifth-choice goalkeeper on the bench after both Victor Valdes and Barca B's Oier Olazabal were sent off at the weekend.

Valdes, 31, saw red for confronting and insulting referee Miguel Angel Perez Lasa at the final whistle of the 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid at the Bernabeu after the official had denied Barca a late penalty when Sergio Ramos appeared to bring down Alexis Sanchez.

Oier, 23, was dismissed on the same afternoon for a professional foul during Barca B's 3-3 La Segunda draw at Las Palmas.

Experienced senior back-up goalkeeper Jose Pinto, 37, who regularly plays in Copa del Rey games, is likely to start against Depor.

But with Oier suspended and the next in line Jordi Masip, 24, having missed the trip to Las Palmas with a knee injury, 19-year-old fifth choice Miguel Banuz could be on the bench.

Joseph Fabrice Ondoa, 17, who came to Barca via Samuel Eto'o's foundation in 2009 and has already been called up to the Cameroon senior international squad, is another potential option.

Valdes, who was Barca captain on Saturday in the absence of Xavi Hernandez and Carles Puyol, faces a suspension of between two and five games.

The length of his ban could hinge on the official interpretation of the actual words used, with Spanish media reports claiming he told Perez Lasa he had '"screwed up" and "should be ashamed" of himself.

Ramos was given a five-game ban in January after accusing referee Miguel Angel Ayza Gomez of being a "shameless scoundrel" after being shown a red card during a 4-0 Copa del Rey win over Celta Vigo.

Some in the Catalan press have claimed Valdes should get a lesser ban because his offence was not as bad. The Spanish competition committee will announce a decision later in the week, with Barca having the right to appeal.

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