My Soccer World

PRIMERA LIGA: Barca Seek Sevilla Victory

Posted on: November 29, 2008

MADRID: Spanish league leaders Barcelona look to build on their impressive Champions League demolition of Sporting Lisbon when they travel to Sevilla today.

A Lionel Messi-inspired 5-2 victory in Portugal, which secured his team’s place in the Champions League knockout stages, once again illustrated their dependency on the Argentinian.

He was given a break last weekend against Getafe and, without him, Barca lacked impetus and only managed to draw.

“Messi played in the number nine role because Sporting played with a diamond formation and I thought that if he was in the middle then he could take on their centre-backs directly,” said Barca coach Pep Guardiola.

“Playing out wide is more demanding and we wanted to protect him.”
Sevilla will be looking to improve their strike rate as, despite their attacking style, they have been struggling for goals this season. Striker Luis Fabiano has been passed fit along with defenders Sebastian Squillaci and Julien Escude.

Real Madrid, who are also in the next round of the Champions League, reduced the gap at the top of the table to three points with an unimpressive win over Recreativo Huelva last week and they now face Getafe with a long list of injuries headed by Ruud van Nistelrooy.

At least they were buoyed on Thursday by seeing Arjen Robben and Fabio Cannavaro return to training.

Villarreal had been the only remaining unbeaten team in the league until they fell apart against giant-killers Valladolid last weekend.

Now with qualification to the next round of the Champions League secured they can concentrate on the league with their next opponents Recreativo who are bottom of the table without a win in eleven weeks.

In-form Betis will have their eyes on victory with Valencia having lost their last two games at home, and while they are without the injured Xisco Munoz they welcome back Fernando Vega.

Today: Getafe v Real Madrid, Sevilla v Barcelona.

Tomorrow: Recreativo v Villarreal, Valladolid v Mallorca, Malaga v Osasuna, Almeria v Deportivo, Athletic Bilbao v Numancia, Espanyol v Sporting Gijon, Valencia v Real Betis, Atletico v Racing Santander. — AFP

New Straits Times

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