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Real Madrid must snap losing streak or risk losing Spanish league lead to in-form Barcelona

Real Madrid must snap losing streak or risk losing Spanish league lead to in-form Barcelona

Real Madrid needs to snap a losing streak quickly or risk being overtaken by FC Barcelona in the Spanish league.
The Spanish champion, has seen its lead over its Catalan rival shrink to two points, and travels to Recreativo Huelva on the heels of three straight losses.
Madrid has 56 points and Barcelona has 54. Villarreal is next with 46, followed by Atletico Madrid with 41.
Madrid will be without leading scorer Ruud van Nistelrooy due to an ankle injury that also threatens the Netherlands striker's participation in next Wednesday's must-win Champions League game against AS Roma.
Forward Robinho and center back Pepe have both recovered from injury and are expected to be available at the Nuevo Colombino. Madrid hasn't won since losing Robinho to a stomach muscle injury earlier this month.
Captain Raul Gonzalez said the team had moved beyond Sunday's 1-0 loss to Getafe, which saw the visitors take advantage of a careless Madrid moment to score the winner.
"On Monday we were disappointed because only three weeks ago we held an important advantage and now we don't," said Raul, reminiscing about Madrid's one-time nine-point lead. "We have to recover our winning rhythm because it's not normal to lose games like we have been."
Madrid is still without injured players Wesley Sneijder and Christoph Metzelder.
Barcelona, which plays Atletico on Saturday, salvaged a late 1-1 draw against Valencia on Wednesday to remain unbeaten in 2008.
Ronaldinho returns after being rested for the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals amid British newspaper reports that coach Frank Rijkaard will be leaving the club at the end of the season to join Chelsea.
Atletico is struggling to cement itself in the fourth and final Champions League qualifying spot, with in-form Sevilla suddenly lurking two points back in fifth.
"It would be a failure (not qualifying for the Champions League)," said Atletico striker Diego Forlan. "It's not something I'm thinking about."
Strike partner Sergio Aguero is expected to return despite sustaining a leg injury in practice on Wednesday. Barcelona beat Atletico 6-0 at the Vicente Calderon last season.
Sevilla travels to 18th-place Deportivo La Coruna on Saturday, with president Jose Maria del Nido promising that his club will be in fourth by Sunday.
Coach Manolo Jimenez wasn't guaranteeing anything, with the team facing a must-win match against Turkey's Fenerbahce on Tuesday to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals.
"I have the same ambition as Del Nido, which is to win Saturday and move into the Champions League places, but you have to go from game to game," Jimenez said. "I plan to field a competitive team in whatever case, but the first objective is to win at Coruna."
Sixth-ranked Espanyol's European ambitions have fizzled with a three-match losing streak, but it remains only two points behind Atletico going into Saturday's match against Valencia.
Valencia, whose away record is second only to Madrid, is running out of games to stay in the hunt for Champions League soccer. It sits ninth with 35 points.
In other 26th-round matches played Sunday, it's : Villarreal vs. Osasuna; Levante vs. Zaragoza; Valladolid vs. Racing Santander; Getafe vs. Mallorca; Real Betis vs. Murcia; and Almeria vs. Athletic Bilbao


Updated : 2021-04-11 16:14 GMT+08:00