Back-to-back draws for leaders
Real Madrid have blown the title race wide open in Spain and
pursuers Barcelona, who have cut the deficit to six points from
10, will seek to crank up the pressure on Saturday.
Champions Barca could narrow the gap to three points with a
win at Real Mallorca while Real host Real Sociedad two
Real's march towards a first league title in four years has
stalled in the space of four days and nerves seem to be getting
the better of them.
After 11 consecutive wins, Real toiled to 1-1 draws at home
to Malaga last Sunday and away at Villarreal on Wednesday after
conceding late free-kicks.
Jose Mourinho's side, the league's top scorers with 90 goals
from 28 matches, have been finding it hard to finish off games
recently and their frustration was evident after Marcos Senna's
late equaliser on Wednesday.
"Madrid are scared stiff," Barcelona-based daily Sport said
on Thursday, while El Pais pointed a finger at Real's coach with
the headline: "Mourinho makes Madrid hysterical."
Mourinho, defensive mainstay Sergio Ramos and playmaker
Mesut Ozil were all sent off in the closing stages at the
Madrigal in a remarkable loss of composure that could yet have
more painful consequences if the federation decides to act.
Mourinho's assistant, Rui Faria, had already been sent off
for complaining earlier, his fourth red card of the season.
Referee Jose Luis Paradas Romero, who sent Mourinho off last
season, also noted in his match report that Real defender Pepe
had accused him of "robbery" and used unsavoury language.
No-one from Real attended the post-match news conference.
On paper Real Sociedad should not pose too much of a threat
but Real need to raise their game if they are to stop the rot.
Barca have recovered from their shock 3-2 defeat at Osasuna
last month to string together six consecutive wins, with La
Liga's leading marksman Lionel Messi (34 goals) in top form.
The World Player of the Year has scored 17 times in his last
They travel to face a hard-running Mallorca side who are
unbeaten in four outings.
"We are only going to think about our games, there are 10
left and we have to get the maximum points," Barca's Thiago
Alcantara told reporters on Wednesday.
"Hope is the last thing that dies, we have to maintain our
Third-placed Valencia visit Getafe on Saturday with
coach Unai Emery under pressure, a 2-1 defeat to bottom club
Real Zaragoza at the Mestalla on Wednesday sparked an angry
reaction from home fans.
England striker puts pen to paper on permanent deal
The new season is but six weeks away (in the Football League)
It's all about the legacy, says Sepp
Toon upheaval continues in style
Who would you rather have playing for your club?
12 months out, the stars look to the World Cup
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
75% of all TV is Bale
On the road to ruin
Adidas Nitrocharge for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010