Real defend lead, Barca try to catch up in La Liga

Real defend lead, Barca try to catch up in La LigaMadrid, Feb 2 - Real Madrid and FC Barcelona are set to play their Spanish La Liga matches Saturday. Barca have to win their match if they are to a launch a serious title bid while Madrid are seven points clear at the top of the table.

Real Madrid, who don't have to leave the capital to play a league match for the entire month, make the short trip south to Getafe.

Jose Mourinho's side defend their seven point lead at the top of the table and welcome back Sergio Ramos after suspension and Angel di Maria following a thigh injury, Xinhua reported.

Getafe have recovered from a poor start to the season and are currently mid-table. They are also the only side to have defeated Barcelona in the current campaign.

Barca, meanwhile, have no option but to stretch their tired legs following Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final in Valencia and prepare to receive Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou Stadium.

Catalan manager Pep Guardiola rested Xavi Hernandez and Dani Alves in Valencia, but is still without key players who are sidelined with injury. Real Sociedad gained a huge morale boost following their 5-1 thrashing of Sporting Gijon last weekend.

Barca are clear favourites, but Real Sociedad will remember their fightback to force a 2-2 draw earlier in the season. (IANS)

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