Barca re­cover to set pace in La Liga

Cata­lan giants look to ex­tend un­beaten run, while Real miss Ronaldo

The New Age (Gauteng) - - SPORT -

BARCELONA have emerged from a cloud of pes­simism to make a per­fect start to their La Liga cam­paign and travel to Getafe to­mor­row look­ing to stretch their ad­van­tage over Real Madrid, whose early op­ti­mism has been damp­ened.

A pall of gloom hung over the Cata­lans in the close sea­son fol­low­ing the de­par­ture of Ney­mar to Paris St Ger­main and other fail­ures in the trans­fer mar­ket, lead­ing club mem­bers to sign a pe­ti­tion of no con­fi­dence against the club pres­i­dent. Yet their off the pitch prob­lems have seem­ingly had no ef­fect on their per­for­mances.

Three wins from three has put them top of the ta­ble and with a four­point ad­van­tage over ri­vals Real, who have stum­bled with two draws in their last two games in the ab­sence of the sus­pended for at­tack­ing ab­sen­tees.

“Ronaldo is a key player for us, he’s al­ways in it and al­ways scores,” Zi­dane said.

“I hope it’s the last game of the sea­son that we’re with­out him. We’ve not got Cris­tiano nor Ben­zema, but we will have other play­ers and we’ll do well.

“We’ve won two tro­phies in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion al­ready and we played well (in the 2­2 draw) against Va­len­cia.

“Against Le­vante (1-1) we weren’t good and we weren’t against APOEL in the first half ei­ther. Against Real So­ciedad this week­end we need to start in a dif­fer­ent man­ner.”

Atletico Madrid will play their first game at their new Wanda Metropoli­tano sta­dium as they host point­less Malaga while Le­vante host Va­len­cia in the Va­len­cian

derby. – Reuters

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