MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid will flip their consideration back to sustaining their lead on the prime of the LaLiga standings after struggling a disappointing 1-0 loss at Athletic Bilbao on Thursday in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals.
The leaders host Granada on Sunday because the Spanish league returns after a two week hiatus due to the rescheduled South American World Cup qualifiers that have been postponed from final yr due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti was criticized after the loss at Bilbao for his choice to play Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo who have been barely rested after getting back from worldwide obligation with Brazil earlier in the week.
The Italian coach opted to play the children as an alternative of veteran forwards Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard, who had two further weeks to relaxation and get in form however have been as soon as once more left on the bench.
Real seemed drained in Bilbao and have been clearly hampered by the absence of French striker Karim Benzema, who continues to be recovering from a leg muscle damage.
Ancelotti faces a range headache once more as Vinicius is suspended for Sunday’s recreation and Benzema is being rigorously managed in his restoration to hopefully play in their Champions League last-16 first leg in opposition to Paris St Germain on Feb. 15.
LaLiga’s recreation of the week might be at Camp Nou, the place Barcelona will host champions Atletico Madrid with each groups making an attempt to struggle back after struggling in the start of the season.
Real Madrid lead the standings on 50 factors from 22 video games, 4 factors forward of second positioned Sevilla. Atletico are fourth with 36 factors, yet another than Barcelona. They each have one recreation in hand.
Atletico will journey with out French ahead Antoine Griezmann who’s injured. Barca boss Xavi Hernandez could have at his disposal new signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore, who each arrived this week from the English Premier League.
(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Christian Radnedge)