Friday, April 12, 2024

La Liga Preview

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MADRID (AP) – A seemingly frustrated Cristiano Ronaldo will get another chance to score some goals on Saturday at Sevilla as the Spanish Football League continues.

Ronaldo failed to net any of the team’s three goals in Wednesday’s victory over Almeria, and he let his emotions show after Alvaro Arbeloa appeared to slide in front of him to tap in the final goal.

Instead of celebrating, the Portugal forward vented his frustration by kicking the ball into the net.

The Ballon d’Or winner may have been upset because he was concerned that Lionel Messi, who is just one goal behind, could catch him as the league’s top scorer.

“If Ronaldo doesn’t score again until the end of the season, I’d be content,” Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti said. “I’ve never had a player who scored 50 goals in one season.”

Madrid trail Barcelona by two points in the league. Barcelona travel to last-place Cordoba which have won only three of their 34 league outings this season – and only one of those at home.

“We can’t be certain that Barcelona will drop points,” Ancelotti said. “We are convinced we can win our four games.”

Here are some things to know about this weekend’s matches:

Impregnable Venue

No team in the league has been able to beat Sevilla at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium this season, with Barcelona only managing a hard-fought 2-2 draw on April 11.

Sevilla coach Unai Emery could play former Arsenal forward Jose Antonio Reyes, who on Wednesday attained the milestone of 300 games played in the league.

In the 16 league matches Reyes has played this season with Sevilla, they have won 12 and drawn four. Sevilla are unbeaten in ten matches and Reyes excelled in Wednesday’s 3-1 win at Eibar.

Also, Madrid haven’t won at Sevilla in the last two seasons, losing 2-1 last time and 1-0 the previous season.

Torres and Atletico

Atletico Madrid host eighth-place Athletic Bilbao on Saturday and coach Diego Simeone could deploy Fernando Torres again.

Torres came off the bench in the second half of Atletico’s match at Villarreal to ensure the defending champions retained third place with a 1-0 win.

“By adding points, he got us closer to our objective,” Simeone said. “Fernando defined with class and great style.”

Messi Milestone

Cordoba could offer Messi the perfect opportunity to celebrate ten years of scoring.

On May 1, 2005, the forward scored his side’s second goal against Albacete and his first of 402 so far with Barcelona.

Barcelona’s three-pronged attack – with Neymar and Luis Suarez alongside Messi – has scored 102 goals this season, beating the Argentina forward’s previous partnerships with Samuel Eto’o and Thierry Henry, as well as beside David Villa and Pedro Rodriguez.

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