The Sun (Malaysia)

Real challenge

> Atletico have to win to keep up with big two


ATLETICO MADRID have been hot in pursuit of Spanish big two Barcelona and Real Madrid for around 30 years now, since Barca took over from Atletico as the principal rival for Real in La Liga.

Atletico’s pursuit of the twin giants culminated in their 2014 league triumph – and continues apace today.

Diego Simeone’s team really must win at Deportivo La Coruna

today if they wish to keep pace with Real and Barca, who are both two points ahead of them.

“It’s good to have a few days to rest and train properly, just for a change,” Atletico rightback Juanfran said.

“We will be fresh and keen for La Coruna. We won’t be thinking about going top of the table but only about picking up another three points.”

Simeone’s only absentee will be Luciano Vietto, who is still recovering from appendicit­is.

The Argentine coach is likely to stick by the attack of Antoine Griezmann, Jackson Martinez and Yannick Carrasco that beat Valencia 2-1, which would leave veteran Fernando Torres on the subs bench again.

Against Las Palmas tomorrow, Real will be hoping to welcome back from injury victims James Rodriguez, Karim Benzema, Pepe and Alvaro Arbeloa. However, Mateo Kovacic and Gareth Bale are still out of action.

Later, Barcelona will visit a midtable Getafe side who shut them out 0-0 last season.

“It is never easy to win at Getafe. We have dropped points there on several occasions,” said Barca captain Andres Iniesta, who is ready to return from injury.

Tomorrow’s match will also see Sevilla visit Villarreal and Valencia against bottom team Levante in what will surely be a tense derby clash.

Sunday’s games will see Eibar play Rayo Vallecano, Espanyol vs Granada, Real Betis vs Athletic Bilbao and Sporting Gijon vs Malaga. – dpa

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