Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Cristiano Ronaldo will miss Sunday’s visit to Celta Vigo, having injured himself in Wednesday’s outing. That means los blancos will be without their top scorer in a match that’s essential to their pursuit of the Spanish title.
It’s been said that no one really wants the La Liga title. After all, last weekend a last minute goal from Getafe meant Barcelona picked up just a point. Then Atlético Madrid lost 2-0 to mid-table side Levante. Real Madrid followed all this up with a 1-1 draw against Valladolid, who’d begun that Wednesday evening in the relegation zone.
What on earth?
Real Madrid are likely kicking themselves for having allowed that late equalizer from Valladolid. Had they managed to keep hold of all three points, they’d be second right now, two points back of their city rivals, Atleti. Instead they’re third, a point behind Barcelona.
That means Real’s fate is no longer in their own hands. Should Atlético beat Málaga, Real would not be able to reach them, and the title would be decided when Atleti visit Barcelona on the final match day.
Still, Los Merengues remain in the race, and they’ll want to do whatever it takes to get the win, just in case the Anchovies give them a hand against Atleti. Real still have firepower from the likes of Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale. And they just might get a boost from the return of Sami Khedira, who will make his first appearance since picking up an injury on international duty back in November.
Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.
Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.
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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.
Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.
The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.
McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.
The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.
The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.
Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.
Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.