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La Liga Preview: Osasuna v Real Madrid

SoccerNews in La Liga 12 Dec 2013

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Real Madrid can keep pace with La Liga leaders Barcelona when they travel to face struggling Osasuna on Saturday.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men have won their last five league games since losing 2-1 to Barca back in October, and sit just three points adrift of the defending champions in third place.

And the capital club should be confident of taking another three points against a side they have beaten in three of their last four meetings.

Osasuna’s last victory against Real came in January 2011, when they edged to a 1-0 triumph, but the visitors’ recent record in Pamplona is far from impressive.

Indeed, Real have emerged victorious on just one of their last five visits to the El Sadar Stadium, however, they will be boosted by the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, who made a goalscoring return to action in their UEFA Champions League clash with Copenhagen after missing the previous three games because of a thigh injury.

France defender Raphael Varane is still out due to a knee injury, while Fabio Coentrao (thigh) and Sami Khedira (knee) remain on the sidelines.

The hosts have endured a dismal campaign so far, and sit just one point above the relegation zone going into this game.

Javi Gracia’s men have experienced a minor upturn in form in recent times, winning two of their last seven league meetings, but have already lost 10 games and possess the worst attacking record in the division.

Osasuna have scored a mere 11 times in 15 league games, although Gracia will have been pleased with their offensive performance in their Copa del Rey meeting with Malaga last weekend, which ended in a 3-3 draw.

Still, Gracia will have to cope without key midfielder Patxi Punal, who is suspended after receiving a straight red card in their 3-0 defeat to Valencia earlier this month.

Attacking midfielder Nino (knee) is doubtful, with Miguel Angel de las Cuevas (elbow) and Sisi (knee) both unavailable.

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