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La Liga preview: Real on alert as Barca close in

23 March 2012 06:38

Real Madrid's grip on top spot in the La Liga standings has weakened considerably in recent weeks, with champions Barcelona ready to pounce.

Jose Mourinho's Real led by as much as 10 points last month, but have now drawn their last two league matches to see their advantage shrink to six points.

Barca coach Pep Guardiola has already claimed his team will be unable to retain their crown in 2011/12, but privately he may be revising that opinion.

The title holders are in action first this week, away to Mallorca on Saturday.

Barca defeated lowly Granada 5-3 at home last time out, letting a two-goal lead slip back to 2-2, before coming out on top at Camp Nou.

Argentina international Lionel Messi netted a hat-trick in the victory, and in doing so became Barca's all-time leading goal-scorer, at the age of just 24.

Their opponents at Iberostar Estadi, Mallorca, have been in impressive form of late.

They are unbeaten in four matches, defeating Sporting Gijon 3-2 away and Atletico Madrid 2-1 at home in their last two fixtures.

Later on Saturday, Mourinho's league leaders play host to Real Sociedad at the Bernabeu.

It remains to be seen if the coach will be on the touchline - he was sent to the stands during Real's 1-1 draw at Villarreal on Wednesday, while Sergio Ramos and Mesut Oezil both received red cards.

Real have been frustrated in their last two outings, but they may fare better against 14th-placed Sociedad, who have lost two in succession.

Also on Saturday, third-placed Valencia, who surprisingly lost 2-1 at home to bottom side Real Zaragoza in mid-week, will look to recover when they go away to Getafe.

On Sunday, Zaragoza will look to build on that upset victory in their match at home to Atletico Madrid.

Malaga can try to consolidate fifth place when they travel to face mid-table Espanyol.

Fourth-placed Levante, occupying the all-important final Champions League qualifying berth, should aim to beat Osasuna at home if they are to hold off their rivals.

Athletic Bilbao have not won in three league matches, but have a chance to end that sequence at home to second bottom Sporting Gijon.

Elsewhere, Rayo Vallecano are at home to Villarreal, struggling Racing Santander go to Real Betis and promoted Granada welcome Sevilla.

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Info

Competition
Primera División
Date
24 March 2012
Game week
30
Kick-off
20:00
Half-time
3 - 1
Full-time
5 - 1
Venue
Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)
Attendance
76000

Goals

G. Higuaín 6'
(assist by K. Benzema) 
1 - 0
Cristiano Ronaldo 33'
(assist by Kaká) 
2 - 0
K. Benzema 41'
(assist by Xabi Alonso) 
3 - 0
3 - 1
42' Xabi Prieto
 (assist by De La Bella)
K. Benzema 49'
(assist by S. Khedira) 
4 - 1
Cristiano Ronaldo 56'
(assist by G. Higuaín) 
5 - 1

Lineups

# Player Bookings
1
4
17
12
19
8
14 45+1'
6
7 33' 56'
9 41' 49'
20 6'
Coach: José Mourinho

Substitutes

# Player Bookings
5
15
28
11
13
16
18
# Player Bookings
17
23
27
8
15
21
25

Thursday 21 August

22:36
22:27
22:19
21:48
21:40
21:34
20:55
20:27
20:17
20:11
20:10
20:04
19:39
18:49
18:23
18:11
18:08
17:53
17:38
17:35
17:21
17:08
16:57
16:57
16:46
16:41
16:26
16:19
16:09
16:09
15:59
15:48
15:42
15:22
14:38
14:26
14:04
13:34
13:27
13:05
12:57
12:55
12:54
12:20
11:25
10:58
10:48
10:11
10:04
09:45
09:41
08:34
08:18
07:12
07:06
06:33
06:00
05:59
05:58
05:52
05:38
04:33
04:32
04:03
03:38
03:10
00:59

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
17:55
17:37
17:34
17:30
17:23
17:23
16:58
16:43
16:38
16:22
16:14
16:06
16:00
15:00
14:51
14:21
14:17
14:03
13:20
13:10
12:45
12:17
11:59
11:52
11:31
11:15
10:58
10:46
10:33
10:10
09:37
09:03
08:35
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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