Valencia on Vengeance Trail Against Real Madrid
Valencia are set to host real Madrid at the Mestalla on Sunday in what promises to be an intriguing battle of wits.
"Los Che" are currently in good form having won seven of their last nine games in all competition, while “Los Blancos” have had a poor away run recently with three losses and two draws in their last six matches. The hosts will have additional motivation with an opportunity to avenge their contentious 2-0 mid-week defeat in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey quarter-finals to the Castilian giants at the Santiago Bernabeu.
But Valencia will miss the services of Joao Pereira and Daniel Parejo, both serving suspensions. Injury concerns could keep both defender Victor Ruiz and skipper David Albelda out of action on Sunday, while Sergio Canales and Jeremy Mathieu have already been laid low by a knee and an ankle injury respectively.
Real Madrid manager Jose Mourinho could replace Iker Casillas in goal with Antonio Adan who returns from suspension as does Cristiano Ronaldo is also due to see action again after having served out a suspension. However, the visitors will be without injured defender Pepe and the suspended pair of Sergio Ramos and Kaka.
Valencia’s poor recent record against Real Madrid (seven losses in nine matches) could give the visitors a psychological edge. What’s more, three of those (on-the-trot) losses have come at the Mestalla. Gonzalo Higuain in particular relishes playing at Valencia’s home ground, having scored five goals at the venue.
Valencia’s striker Soldado could prove the key to his side’s fortunes with a point or two to prove after having been off-sided once too often in the Copa Del Rey game on Tuesday. His counterpart in the Real Madrid camp, Cristiano Ronaldo, could prove an equally determined adversary after a barren Tuesday on which he missed two scoring opportunities.
Prediction: Real Madrid has a clear psychological edge and Ronaldo’s return should help deliver the goods for Los Blancos. Predicted score: Valencia 1-2 Real Madrid.
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