Real Madrid return to Liga battle after Euro failureMarch 6th, 2008 - 1:56 pm ICT by admin
Madrid, March 6 (DPA) After Wednesday’s meltdown in football’s European Champions League at home to AS Roma, Real Madrid will now have to return to the battle to retain their Spanish Liga football title. They will have to put Europe out of their minds and again concentrate on maintaining their five-point lead over Barcelona.
Easier said than done. The moral, psychological and physical scars of Wednesday’s defeat will take some time to heal. And Saturday, their opponents are an Espanyol side desperate to move up into the Champions League zone.
Espanyol are fifth, just two points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid. In October, they beat Real 2-1 at home, the first of the whites’ five league defeats.
Real will be without injured Dutchmen Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, as well as Marcelo, Javier Saviola, Michel Salgado and Christoph Metzelder.
In addition, Sergio Ramos is suspended, as he was against Roma.
Later Saturday, Atletico are away to crisis club Zaragoza. Zaragoza’s fourth coach of a torrid season, Manolo Vilanova, will be making a tense debut. His new team are joint third from bottom and in big trouble.
Vilanova - formerly of third division Huesca - has taken over from Javier Irureta, who quit Monday after just six games in charge.
“It’s very important that we get a good result on Saturday … otherwise the situation will be very difficult,” said the inexperienced Vilanova Wednesday.
Sunday’s big game will be Barcelona at home to Villarreal.
Barca will be without new idol Lionel Messi, who tore his left hamstring in Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Glasgow Celtic.
Villarreal are third, seven points behind Barca.
Sunday’s other games all have relegation significance, with troubled Valencia at home to Deportivo Coruna and Betis away to in-form Racing Santander.
Osasuna play hosts to high-flying Almeria, while Valladolid go to Bilbao and Mallorca face Recreativo Huelva.
Bottom team Levante are away to Sevilla - another team in a flat mood after crashing out of Europe - while second-from-bottom Murcia are at home to Getafe.
Murcia, who have not scored in six games, are hoping that Getafe will be tired after a Thursday UEFA Cup clash away to Benfica.
Defeat in Getafe would definitely spell the sack for Murcia coach Lucas Alcaraz, who has been the proverbial “Dead Man Walking” for weeks now.
- Crucial weekend for Madrid, Barca in La Liga - Feb 10, 2012
- Barcelona beat Sporting Gijon to top Spanish League - Oct 03, 2011
- Real Madrid look to comeback after El Classico defeat - Dec 12, 2011
- Messi back from India to resume Spanish liga action - Sep 09, 2011
- Barcelona play Zaragoza away from home - Apr 06, 2012
- Real Madrid extend La Liga lead - Nov 21, 2011
- Real Madrid to face Sevilla in Spain's Primera Liga - Dec 15, 2011
- Real Madrid need Supercup win to boost morale - Aug 28, 2012
- Easy fixture for Real Madrid at home - Jan 27, 2012
- Liga's penultimate round about survival and qualifying - May 04, 2012
- Stiff sanctions for Coentrao and Vilanova - Aug 30, 2012
- Barca five points behind Real after draw against Espanyol - Jan 09, 2012
- When the Barcelona cat is away, the Madrid mice will play - Dec 17, 2009
- Barcelona keen for revenge against Cup nemesis Sevilla - Jan 14, 2010
- Real Madrid on brink of La Liga title - Apr 30, 2012
Tags: arjen robben, barca, big trouble, dutchmen, european champions, football title, glasgow celtic, irureta, javier saviola, league zone, lionel messi, metzelder, michel salgado, physical scars, real madrid, ruud van nistelrooy, seven points, six games, torrid season, will take some time