Easy fixture for Real Madrid at home

Easy fixture for Real Madrid at homeMadrid, Jan 27 - Real Madrid will need to put their Copa del Rey disappointments behind them when they host Zaragoza in the Spanish Primera Liga football Saturday night.

Madrid took some consolation from their 4-3 aggregate defeat to Barcelona in the Cup, after they produced a much improved performance in the Camp Nou stadium.

That display should take the pressure off Jose Mourinho, who was booed by a section of the Madrid fans during their match against Athletic Club Bilbao last weekend. However, against a Zaragoza side that is at bottom of the table, it is clear that Madrid will need goals in order to keep their ever-demanding supporters happy.

Madrid have no injury worries, except for German Sami Khedira, who has an ankle injury, and Argentine winger Angel di Maria with muscle problem, and with nobody suspended Mourinho will field his strongest available 11 for the game, Xinhua reported.

That means Cristiano Ronaldo will look to add to his 30 goals in as many games this season, while Karim Benzema, who was highly effective as a second half substitute against Barca, will start ahead of Gonzalo Higuain in attack.

Di Maria could return to action, although it could be as a substitute, while Marcelo will replace Fabio Coentrao at left back.

Zaragoza travel to Madrid, no doubt remembering the 0-6 home defeat they suffered against Mourinho's men on the opening day of the season. Madrid were highly impressive in that game, while Zaragoza gave a hint of the poor form that has left them bottom of the Primera Liga with just 12 points from 19 games.

That form cost former manager Javier Aguirre his job and Zaragoza are now managed by Manolo Jimenez, who needs his side to make up seven points on fourth from bottom Villarreal, to have any chance of avoiding relegation at the end of the season.

Last weekend saw Zaragoza scrape their way to a 0-0 draw away to Levante, but adding points one at a time is not enough for Jimenez's men and they have no option but to go for a victory.

Zaragoza did win in Madrid last season after a brave defensive performance and a single goal, but if they do the same Saturday night it will be one of the shocks of the season.  (IANS)



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