Villarreal determined to copy Mallorca's example in Madrid

24th January 2008, Comments 0 comments

Villarreal are determined on Sunday to become the first visitors to beat Real Madrid in a league match in their Estadio Bernabeu this season.

24 January 2008

MADRID - Villarreal are determined on Sunday to become the first visitors to beat Real Madrid in a league match in their Estadio Bernabeu this season.

Real have won all ten of their home league games, though goalkeeper Iker Casillas has usually had to work overtime.

The only visiting team to win in the Bernabeu this season has been Mallorca, last Wednesday in the King's Cup.

"We intend to follow the example of Mallorca," Villarreal forward Guille Franco told Antena 3 on Wednesday night.

"They pressed Real throughout the match," the Mexican international added, "and attacked them constantly, instead of just defending."

Villarreal are third in La Liga, 12 points behind Real and five behind second-placed Barcelona.

They might arrive in Madrid somewhat tired, given that they face Barca in the cup on Thursday.

Once again, Real will be without the injured Christoph Metzelder, Pepe, Gabriel Heinze, Mahamadou Diarra and Arjen Robben.

Earlier on Sunday, Barca will be playing in Bilbao, never a comfortable place for a top team to visit.

As per usual, Ronaldinho will stay in the gymnasium instead of making the trip. He has not played since a 0-1 defeat at home to Real on 23 December, alleging various mysterious muscle problems.

Every week technical secretary Txiki Begiristain insists that the wayward Brazilian is not up for sale - but the transfer rumours never seem to actually abate.

Barca will also be without African Nations Cup stars Samuel Eto'o and Yaya Toure, though Lionel Messi and Deco are fit again.

Sunday will be High Noon for Miguel Angel Lotina, embattled coach of Deportivo La Coruna.

Lotina has been around long enough to know that - with his team second from bottom - he is living on borrowed time. Failure to beat Valladolid at home on Sunday will be the end of a dark, dismal road for him.

Former Deportivo hero Javier Irureta, meanwhile, will be making his coaching debut at Zaragoza in the road match at Racing Santander.

Irureta took over on Tuesday from Ander Garitano, who dramatically quit after just one week following the club's refusal to sell undisciplined Argentine Andres D'Alessandro.

The weekend's other games are: Murcia-Levante, Mallorca-Atletico Madrid, Valencia-Almeria, Espanyol-Betis, Recreativo Huelva-Getafe and Sevilla-Osasuna.

[Copyright dpa 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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