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Saturday 11. March 2006 - 09:20

Real and Valencia fight for second

Real Madrid leads Valencia by a slim seven point goal difference as the two teams battle for second at the Mestalla on Saturday in La Liga play.

Valencia hosts Real in hopes of breaking the 51 point deadlock for second place and also securing a guaranteed spot in next season's Champions League.

The visiting team enters Saturday's match after being knocked out of the UEFA Champions League by Arsenal on Wednesday. After a scoreless match, the Premiership club won on aggregate with captain Thierry Henry's lone goal in the first leg at Santiago Bernabeu.

To make matters worse, Real's coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro will be without starters David Beckham, Jonathan Woodgate, Pablo Garcia, Oscar Minambres and Roberto Carlos on Saturday.

Captain David Beckham will be sidelined after straining his groin during the Champions League defeat. Teammate Woodgate remains injured after spraining a muscle in his thigh during the first-leg of the tournament while Garcia and Minambres are both out with knee injuries.

Real defender Roberto Carlos is suspended after being booked in last week's 2-1 derby with Atletico Madrid.

Valencia also has gaps in its roster, missing key players David Albelda, Patrick Kluivert and Edu who sustained knee injuries. Starters Vicente Rodriguez and Hugo Viana are also sidelined with ankle problems.

In other La Liga action: On Saturday, fifth place Celta heads to Espanyol; Deportivo hosts Real Sociedad without striker Sebastian Taborda. Taborda will be sidelined for at least six weeks after tearing a muscle in his left thigh on Monday.

On Sunday, Real Betis will look for its 7th league win when it faces last place Malaga; Real Zaragoza leads Getafe by only two points as the two teams meet; Athletic Bilbao welcomes visiting club Cadiz; Sevilla will try to jump into Celta's standing when it visits Alaves; Mallorca hosts Villarreal; Atletico Madrid tries to remain in the top 10 as it battles Racing; La Liga champion Barcelona tests fourth place Osasuna to conclude weekend play.



Espanyol - Celta

Deportivo - Real Sociedad

Valencia - Real Madrid


Real Betis - Malaga

Real Zaragoza - Getafe

Athletic Bilbao - Cadiz

Alaves - Sevilla

Mallorca - Villarreal

Atletico Madrid - Racing

Osasuna - Barcelona

Provided by: Frank Henriksen
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