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La Liga preview: Upstarts Rayo seek to extend run

Unfashionable Rayo Vallecano look likely to win their fifth-straight match in La Liga when they travel to Granada on Saturday.

The club based in Madrid’s suburb of Vallecas are renowned as one of the poorest clubs in Spain’s top-flight but despite their economic problems, Vallecano sit sixth in La Liga after 19 rounds and will extend their winning streak to five games if they defeat 17th-placed Granada this weekend.

Alhassane Bangoura, Piti and Roberto Trashorras have been key to Vallecano’s run of good form, which started before the winter break when they won 1-0 away to Valencia.

Bangoura and Piti, the preferred wingers in Vallecano head coach Paco Jemez’s favoured 4-2-3-1 formation; have scored two and four goals respectively during the winning streak, while Trashorras has produced three assists.

Piti is Vallecano’s top-scorer this season with nine goals, while Brazilian striker Leo Baptistao has hit the back of the net six times.

A victory in Granada could take Vallecano to fifth in La Liga if Malaga fail to beat Celta Vigo later on Saturday.

League-leaders Barcelona will look to extend their unbeaten run to 20 matches when they travel to Real Sociedad, while Getafe and Sevilla will also clash on Saturday.

Barcelona set a new La Liga record last week, ending the first half of the season with 55 of a possible 57 points.

The previous record of 52 points was set two years ago by Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona side.

In Friday’s match, Espanyol will host Mallorca in a match that could play a crucial role in deciding the relegation battle this season.

Espanyol are two spots and one point above Mallorca, who sit in 18th, the highest position in La Liga’s relegation zone.

In Sunday’s matches, second-placed Atletico Madrid will host Levante, Real Valladolid are set to take on Real Zaragoza and Real Madrid will travel to Valencia, while on Monday, Real Betis are up against Athletic Bilbao.

Wed 16 Jan, 2013
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