3/9/07

La Liga: Barcelona - Madrid tonight!


FC Barcelona and Real Madrid hope to restore their wounded pride tonight.


Each powerhouse would welcome a victory over its biggest rival to soothe disappointment at being eliminated this week in the Champions League's quarterfinals.


Barcelona, a point behind Sevilla in second place, have made positive noises since losing the chance to retain their European title on Tuesday with an away-goals defeat by Liverpool.
"Fortunately, Real Madrid is now coming," Barcelona sports director Aitor Begiristain said. "It's important to beat Real Madrid, because they are a title rival and because we want to bring some cheer to our supporters."


Fourth-place Madrid, who also went out on away goals at Bayern Munich on Wednesday, have taken their elimination harder. The future of coach Capello is uncertain. "It's obvious that coaches depend on results," Mijatovic was quoted as saying by sports daily AS on Thursday.

Madrid captain Raul Gonzalez says home advantage makes Barcelona the favorites.
"The crowd helps a lot," Raul told Real's web site. "But we are capable of getting three points. A win is vital for us to get back into the title race."


Madrid will play without David Beckham, who strained knee ligaments in last weekend's game against Getafe.


Forward Jose Antonio Reyes, and defenders Fabio Cannavaro and Roberto Carlos, are also sidelined, while Sergio Ramos, Miguel Torres and Diarra are all doubtful.

The hosts will lack suspended forward Ludovic Giuly and defender Gianluca Zambrotta.

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