Real Madrid will kick off their home game against Espanyol here on Sunday knowing that they have little option other than to win if they want to keep their dream of the La Liga title alive.

Depending on the result of Saturday’s game between FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, Real could kick-off seven points off the top of the table if Barcelona win, knowing their rivals have a game in hand, reports Xinhua.

Espanyol have traditionally been easy prey at the Santiago Bernabeu with the Barcelona-based club tending to put up much less resistance to Real Madrid than against their city neighbours, Barcelona and it will be interesting to see if they try (and are allowed to get away with) the same physical tactics that recently earned them a controversial 0-0 draw at home to Barcelona.

The visitors’ league position just four points above the relegation zone implies they are in no situation to give away points without a fight and pride will want them to stop a repeat of the 6-0 drubbing at home to Real earlier this season.

That game saw Cristiano Ronaldo score five goals but his tally on 16 goals this season is well below last year when he ended up with 48 goals while it has also been noted that he has failed to score in games against any of Spain’s top sides this season.

With Gareth Bale still recovering from his hamstring injury, Ronaldo will have a key role once again in the Madrid attack alongside Karim Benzema, while Isco will look to continue his run of form under Zinedine Zidane.

James Rodriguez will also start on Sunday while others such as Lucas Vazquez and Casimiro, who enjoyed game time under Rafael Benitez, will have to be content with a place on the bench at best.

One advantage for Real Madrid is that Espanyol can’t pick with Marcos Asensio or striker Burgui — both are on loan from Real and the terms of their contracts prevent them turning out on Sunday.

  • SHARE

    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

    Related Posts

    Volgograd hotel jacks prices 20 times for World Cup

    Volgograd, Dec 16: Russias consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has initiated an administrative case in regard to a hotel in Volgograd for inflating prices by over...

    Bravo doubtful of return to Windies team

    Sharjah, Dec 16: West Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has expressed doubts on his possible return to national colours in any format. Bravo, who last represented the...

    Ranji Trophy: Karnataka favourites against Vidarbha

    Kolkata, Dec 16: Eight-time champions Karnataka will be hot favourites against Vidarbha who are still not sure of the services of India speedster Umesh Yadav...

    Knee injury forces Sania to miss Australian Open

    Kolkata, Dec 16: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza said on Saturday that she will not be taking part in the Australian Open early next year...

    Man Utd still in title race: Matic

    Manchester, Dec 16: Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic said on Saturday that Manchester United are not out of the race for the English Premier League (EPL)...