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La Liga preview: Testing period for Real, Barca

14 April 2012 01:02

Bitter rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona will embark on a season-defining eight days when La Liga action continues on Saturday.

Real will host cellar-dwellers Sporting Gijon at the Bernabeu, while Barcelona faces a tougher task against fifth-placed Levante.

Both sides will then compete midweek in the first legs of their respective Champions League semi-finals before an eagerly anticipated El Clasico showdown at Camp Nou on April 21.

Real Madrid remains four points clear of Barcelona with six games remaining in the La Liga season.

After scoring a hat trick in the 4-1 midweek drubbing of neighbours Atletico Madrid, Real star Cristiano Ronaldo could be rested for Gijon's visit.

Ronaldo has accumulated four yellow cards to date and one more would see him suspended for Real Madrid's crucial trip to Barcelona.

Jose Mourinho's side have only won three of their last six La Liga starts, but have not lost in any form of competition since January.

Barcelona travels to Levante's City of Valencia Stadium - where they celebrated their 2005-06 and 2010-11 league titles - full of confidence following a 4-0 midweek trouncing of Getafe.

The win was the Catalan side's 10th consecutive in the league, with Alexis Sanchez, Lionel Messi and Pedro all scoring.

"We are playing very well as a team and we are really on a roll," Pedro told fcbarcelona.com.

"We've just taken each game at a time, focussing on ourselves and knowing we couldn't slip up.

"We have to be concentrated on the match and nothing else, that's what (manager Pep) Guardiola told us.

"Right now every one of the six games left will be like a final. But it's going to be very hard to overtake them."

Levante occupies fifth in La Liga standings despite a surprise 3-2 midweek defeat to Gijon, and a further loss to Barcelona could see them slip out of the European qualification zone.

In Saturday's third and final game, third-placed Valencia will face Espanyol in a bid to tighten their grip on automatic qualification for next year's Champions League.

Valencia are two points clear of fourth-placed Malaga, but have only won one of their last five La Liga games.

On Sunday, Valencia's Europa League semi-final opponents Atletico Madrid take on local rivals Rayo Vallecano, Real Sociedad travel to Malaga and Real Zaragoza host Granada.

Elsewhere, Real Betis and Osasuna will face off, Villarreal play bottom-placed Racing Santander and Athletic Club are up against Mallorca.

Getafe will take on Sevilla in the final game of the round on Monday.

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Info

Competition
Primera División
Date
15 April 2012
Game week
34
Kick-off
18:00
Half-time
1 - 0
Full-time
1 - 0
Venue
Estadio San Mamés (Bilbao)
Attendance
25000

Goals

Llorente 13'
(assist by Ibai) 
1 - 0

Lineups

# Player Bookings
1
15
5
3
24
14
8
21 50'
9 13'
10
28
Coach: M. Bielsa
# Player Bookings
13
4
15 53'
22 76'
21
28
5 86'
7
18
24
8
Coach: Joaquín Caparrós

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
23
2
11
6
7
12
13
# Player Bookings
11
27 88'
10
1
2
3
9

Thursday 21 August

Wednesday 20 August

23:26
23:26
23:11
22:57
22:50
21:20
21:10
20:36
20:27
20:18
20:14
20:03
19:28
19:17
18:55
18:53
18:49
18:07
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17:37
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10:58
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08:10
06:43
06:30
06:09
05:23
04:45
03:17
02:51
02:29
01:49
01:04
00:16

Tuesday 19 August

23:43
23:37
23:27
23:24
22:44
22:24
21:55
21:44
21:32
20:54
19:56
19:10
18:55
18:48
18:44
18:17
18:07
17:35
17:35
17:07
16:39
16:39
16:25
16:11
15:56
15:43
15:39
15:08
14:40
14:28
14:13
14:04
14:00
13:42
13:31
13:28
12:49
12:17
11:39
11:28
11:09
10:58
10:30
10:03
09:53
09:43
09:26
08:57
08:56
07:40
07:31
07:28
06:51
05:24
03:50
03:48
03:09
03:04
02:59
02:19
02:17
01:21
01:08
00:04

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