Squad woes continue for Spanish league leader Real Madrid

Thu, Feb 22, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Squad woes continue for Spanish league leader Real Madrid

MADRID (AP) - Coach Carlo Ancelotti has to deal with two more absences to an already depleted squad when Spanish league leader Real Madrid hosts Sevilla this weekend.

Ancelotti won't be able to count on suspended midfielder Eduardo Camavinga and defender Dani Carvajal on Sunday.

Carvajal was sent off last Sunday at the end of the team's 1-1 draw at Rayo Vallecano, while Camavinga received his fifth yellow card to prompt an automatic suspension.

Madrid has a six-point lead over second-placed Girona, which hosts Rayo on Monday. Madrid is eight points ahead of third-placed Barcelona and 11 points ahead of fourth-placed Atletico Madrid.

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Five Madrid players remain out injured, including Jude Bellingham with a sprained ankle and defender Antonio Rudiger because of a thigh injury. Nursing long-term knee ligament injuries are goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and central defenders David Alaba and Eder Militao.

Ancelotti has been improvising using midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni as a central defender in recent matches. Lucas Vazquez is expected to replace Carvajal on Sunday, and Luka Modric will likely play in Camavinga's place in the midfield.

Madrid chose not to add any defenders during the winter transfer window. Ancelotti said the players he had were enough to make up for the absence of the injured players.

The good news for Ancelotti is left back Ferland Mendy will be back from suspension at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium.

Sevilla, sitting in 15th place, drew at Valencia 0-0 in the previous round after two consecutive victories helped it move away from the relegation zone.

GIRONA'S STRUGGLES

Girona will try to stay close to Madrid by ending a slump in the match against Rayo.

The Catalan club, the league's feel-good story, is winless in three straight matches and has lost two in a row - 3-2 at Athletic Bilbao on Monday and 4-0 at Madrid previously. It drew 0-0 against Real Sociedad before that.

Rayo, in 14th place, held Madrid to a draw but hasn't been able to win in six consecutive league matches. Its last win was in January.

BARCELONA'S MOVE

Barcelona hosts Getafe with a chance to get back into second place with a victory on Saturday.

The Catalan club has won three of its last four league matches. It trails Girona by two points.

Mid-table Getafe has one win in its last four games.

ALMERIA STREAK

There's no respite for last-placed Almeria, which last weekend made history for the wrong reason by becoming the first team to go 28 straight games without a league win.

Almeria drew at Granada 1-1 for its 25th consecutive winless game this season. It also didn't win its last three matches last season.

Almeria hosts Atletico Madrid, which is looking to rebound from its loss at Inter Milan in the Champions League.

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AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer

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