Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sevilla-Real Madrid Preview: Blancos look to bounce back after Barcelona defeat

Dejected Real Madrid players

Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has called for his side to produce "an immediate reaction" when they travel to Sevilla on Wednesday.

Los Blancos were beaten by Barcelona in Sunday's Clasico, twice throwing away the lead in losing 4-3 in front of their home fans.

The result had serious ramifications for the title race. Madrid are level on points with Atletico but it is the Rojiblancos who top the table because of their superior head-to-head record with their city rivals, while Barca are now just one point behind the pair.

And while the defeat has clearly hurt Los Blancos - Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos both publicly slammed the officiating of referee Alberto Undiano, who awarded three penalties, two of which went to Barca - Ancelotti has urged his players to move on quickly.

"We have to forget this match and think about Wednesday, which could be a key game in the season," the Italian said.

"We have to be happy with the way we played [against Barcelona] ... luck was not on our side but the team proved to be fit and we have the drive and ability to put this match quickly behind us.

"La Liga is wide open and we are going to keep fighting. There are nine matches left and, as I have said, it will be a very intense race for everyone."

Karim Benzema scored twice against Barca before being sacrificed after Ramos was sent off - for the 19th time in his Madrid career - and the Frenchman is expected to lead the line again.

Angel Di Maria was also outstanding for Madrid, but they did not get enough from star duo Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale on club football's biggest occasion and Ancelotti will want the pair to replicate their performances in their reverse fixture with Sevilla back in October.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick and Bale added two in Madrid's 7-3 home demolition of Unai Emery's men.

Ramos will be suspended for the visit of his former club after his latest red card and Jese Rodriguez (knee) is sidelined for the foreseeable future.

Sevilla will be quietly confident of pulling off an upset after a week that has included two important wins.

After knocking rivals Betis out of the Europa League's last 16 on penalties, the fifth-placed outfit won 2-1 at Osasuna on Sunday.

Emery's outfit have won their last five Liga fixtures - a run in which France forward Kevin Gameiro has scored four times.

Carlos Bacca and Ivan Rakitic have also impressed in recent times and Sevilla's form means Real must take their challenge seriously.

Sevilla-Real Madrid Preview: Blancos look to bounce back after Barcelona defeat Rating: 4.5 Posted by: Unknown


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