Brief news from La Liga ahead
of this weekend's matches:
Leaders Real Madrid will not give the habitual pre-match
news conference ahead of the visit of Real Sociedad on Saturday, after the costly loss of composure at Villarreal during
Coach Jose Mourinho and Mesut Ozil are suspended after being
sent off, while Pepe has been given a two-match ban for
insulting the referee.
Lassana Diarra is also suspended but defender Sergio Ramos
has been cleared after his red card was rescinded.
"We share the indignation of the team," Real sports director
Miguel Pardeza told sports daily Marca on Friday, when the
football federation's competition committee was scheduled to sit
and rule on the midweek misdemeanors.
"It seems the referee's performance was out of proportion,
and was nothing like the one we saw a few weeks ago with
Barcelona in the Reyno de Navarra [when Barca lost 3-2]. We are
worried by the different criteria applied."
Real's lead at the top has been chopped from 10 points to
six by consecutive draws in the last week. With 10 matches left
to play champions Barca can increase the pressure with a win at
Real Mallorca, two hours before Real play on Saturday.
Barca will also be forced into changes with defenders Dani
Alves suspended, Adriano Correia injured and Eric Abidal,
awaiting a liver transplant.
"Six points is still a big gap, even if it is better than
ten," coach Pep Guardiola said on Friday. "Winning 10 games
will not be easy and Real will quickly return to winning again."
Third-placed Valencia travel to play Getafe on Saturday with the pressure growing on coach Unai Emery following
the midweek 2-1 home defeat to basement side Real Zaragoza.
"From Madrid it seems strange that in Valencia they
criticise the coach and players when they are in such a good
position," Getafe coach Luis Garcia told Las Provincias. "One
year when they don't finish third they'll value Emery's work."
Fourth-placed Levante have defied predictions to remain in
the European places in La Liga and can strengthen their claim
with a win at home to direct rivals Osasuna on Sunday.
"The story changes now because we have achieved our primary
objective, to get 44 points, and practically speaking we are
safe from relegation," midfielder Francisco Farinos said. "Now
we need to push and see how high we can finish."
Atletico Madrid's Brazilian playmaker Diego Ribas has
returned to fitness after a month out with a muscle injury and
could return at basement side Real Zaragoza on Sunday.
Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente has been past
fit in time for the visit of Sporting Gijon on Sunday.
The Spanish international has missed their last two games with a
Marcelo Bielsa's side, who knocked Manchester United out of
the Europa League last week, have lost their last three league
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
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