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La Liga Preview: Espanyol v 00004000 Real Madrid

Real Madrid aim to secure second place in La Liga by extending their unbeaten run against Espanyol to 14 games.

After Jose Mourinho’s side emphatically beat Malaga 6-2 on Wednesday, they know that victory over Espanyol will secure second place in La Liga, giving them time to prepare for the Copa del Rey final with Atletico Madrid.

They travel to Barcelona to face the city’s second side knowing that they have not lost against them since October 2007, in which time they have scored 23 goals and conceded just two.

Real sit eight points clear of Atletico with three games remaining. They have won 25 out of their 35 games this season and have only dropped one point since their last defeat in February, which came at Granada.

Marcelo is the only doubt for Madrid coming into the game. The Brazilian has been absent with injury for the past month but could make a return to the starting line-up in this game. However, Mourinho may choose not to risk him with the cup final just days away.

When the two teams met at the Bernabeu in December, the visitors took the lead through Sergio Garcia before Cristiano Ronaldo and Fabio Coentrao put Real in control. They looked on course to seal another victory but Juan Albin grabbed a dramatic late equaliser to take a share of the points.

Espanyol come into the game having lost their last two matches – having failed to score in either match – and stand 11th in the league. Javier Aguirre’s men have only taken four points from their six matches against the top four sides this season.

On-loan Italian striker Samuele Longo is the only doubt for the hosts – the 21-year-old has been absent since the beginning of March when he was substituted at half-time in the goal less draw with Valladolid.

Victory for Aguirre’s side could see them move into the top half of the table. Finishing above Sevilla is not possible due to their inferior goal difference, but if Rayo Vallecano lose if they could move into 10th position.

Thu 9 May, 2013
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