Real Madrid hoping for Barcelona slip against Sevilla

April 20th, 2009 - 4:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Thierry Henry Madrid, April 20 (DPA) Real Madrid are hoping and praying that Spanish leaders Barcelona will slip up Wednesday at home to Sevilla in the Liga.
“I think that Barca are going to have problems against Sevilla, and that they are not going to win,” said Real left-back Marcelo.

It was Marcelo who scored Real’s crucial goal Saturday in the tight win away to Recreativo Huelva, a result which leaves the whites six points behind Barca.

“They are not going to win all of their games,” he added.

The 32nd round of the Liga programme - the second one to be played in midweek - kicks off Tuesday with Real at home to unfashionable neighbours Getafe.

A year ago Getafe won 1-0 in Real’s Estadio Bernabeu. A similar result is unlikely this time, because Getafe are in big trouble - sixth from bottom - and because Real are in intimidating form.

The whites have won 15 out of 17 games since Juande Ramos took over from Bernd Schuster in December. They are certainly not playing fantasy football, but they are grinding out their wins with ruthless, even industrial, efficiency.

Real will be without muscle tear victim Wesley Sneijder.

Tuesday’s other game brings together relegation strugglers Numancia and Athletic Bilbao.

Bilbao have reached the King’s Cup final but are still not out of danger. Numancia are rock bottom and almost doomed.

Barca will go into the Sevilla match Wednesday looking for their sixth straight win. Coach Josep Guardiola might be tempted to rest weary regulars like Carles Puyol, Xavi and Thierry Henry.

Sevilla will go to the Camp Nou without Andres Palop, Adriano and Luis Fabiano, all suspended as a result of Sunday’s stormy 3-1 defeat away to Valencia.

Sevilla are third, 15 points behind Real but five above Valencia.

On Wednesday Valencia are away to a Betis side that has climbed away from danger under caretaker coach Jose Maria Nogues, with Cameroon midfielder Achille Emana scoring vital goals.

Also Wednesday, Malaga are away to Osasuna whilst Deportivo Coruna face Almeria.

Four games are scheduled for Thursday evening: Villarreal-Recreativo Huelva, Sporting Gijon-Espanyol, Mallorca-Valladolid and Racing Santander-Atletico Madrid.

Villarreal and Atletico need to win to keep their Champions League hopes alive. Huelva, Gijon and Espanyol need the points in their fight against relegation.

Espanyol are second from bottom, with only Numancia below them. Huelva are just one point above the Catalans. Then come Gijon, Bilbao, Getafe and Osasuna.

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