Brief news from La Liga ahead of
this weekend's matches:
Andres Iniesta is set to return for Barcelona after injury
when the champions host Racing Santander on Saturday.
The Spain midfielder has been out for a month with a
Eric Abidal and Cesc Fabregas are doubts as they, too,
recover from hamstring injuries, while Alexis Sanchez and
Ibrahim Afellay are out.
Gonzalo Higuain will probably start for Real Madrid at
home to promoted Real Betis on Saturday with Karim
Benzema still working to recover from a muscle strain.
Midfielder Nuri Sahin and defenders Ricardo Carvalho and
Raul Albiol are all out with injuries.
Defender Carlos Marchena returns from injury but
Villarreal have problems in attack with Brazil forward Nilmar
recovering from knee surgery and Argentine Marco Ruben a doubt
for their trip to Getafe on Saturday.
"We accept that the fans are not satisfied with the team. We
know we can do more and now is the moment we need to react,"
under-fire coach Juan Carlos Garrido said of their run of eight
matches with one win in all competitions.
Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo´s thigh strain, which
forced him out of the Spain squad for their recent Euro 2012
qualifiers, means that Manu del Moral may be asked to lead the
line when Sporting Gijon visit on Sunday.
Atletico Madrid will be without Turkey midfielder Arda
Turan, who has a strained groin muscle, at promoted Granada on
Valencia are without Tino Costa, who has a hamstring
injury, and Dutch international Hedwiges Maduro, who has been
ruled out for four months after surgery on ankle ligaments this
Valencia visit Real Mallorca on Saturday for the
debut of their new coach, the well-known taskmaster Joaquin
Caparros, who replaced Michael Laudrup.
"He has really pushed us this week," Mallorca striker Victor
told sports daily As. "They have been very hard training
sessions. Since he arrived he has been drumming it into us all
to pressure opponents and to run a lot."
Borussia Dortmund's Mario Gotze ruled out of Champions League final against Bayern Munich
Malaga coach Manuel Pellegrini will leave the La Liga club at the end of the current season
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
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