LEAKY DE­FENCE

La Liga lead­ers have con­ceded 10 times in last six games

New Straits Times - - Sport -

BARCELONA

REAL Madrid have re­turned to the top of La Liga but need to halt their re­cent trend of leak­ing goals in games if they want to stay there in to­day’s trip to Ath­letic Bil­bao, who have the sec­ond best home record in the Span­ish top flight.

Zine­dine Zi­dane’s side have con­ceded 10 times in their last six games in all com­pe­ti­tions, fall­ing be­hind in five of those, and are in­creas­ingly re­ly­ing on late es­cape acts to get them out of trou­ble.

Ser­gio Ramos came to their res­cue in Sun­day’s laboured 2-1 win over Real Betis with an 81st minute win­ner, while Al­varo Mo­rata and Cris­tiano Ron­aldo scored late against Vil­lar­real and Las Pal­mas, sal­vaging a 3-2 win and 3-3 draw re­spec­tively.

Real leapfrogged ri­vals Barcelona at the league’s sum­mit after the Cata­lans’ shock 2-1 de­feat at De­portivo La Coruna and en­joy a two-point lead as well as hav­ing a game in hand in their pur­suit of a first ti­tle win since 2012, al­though their de­fence is still vul­ner­a­ble.

The spot­light has fallen par­tic­u­larly on goal­keeper Key­lor Navas, who scored an em­bar­rass­ing own goal against Betis and was for­tu­nate not to be sent off, adding to costly mis­takes against Las Pal­mas and in their 2-1 de­feat to Va­len­cia.

Real have won one of three vis­its to Ath­letic’s new San Mames sta­dium, which opened in 2013, and the Basques have hit form, win­ning their last four league home games and beat­ing lo­cal ri­vals

Real So­ciedad 2-0 in their last out­ing.

“We’re play­ing well, we are very con­fi­dent and the derby win gave us an ex­tra boost.

“We want to keep up our great run at home and the fact we’re play­ing Real

Madrid

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