International

Gareth Bale's goal burden

2015-02-03 13:43
Bale and Ronaldo (Supplied)
Bale and Ronaldo (Supplied)

Barcelona - Cristiano Ronaldo will again watch from the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium sideline as Real Madrid puts its Spanish league lead to the test against Sevilla on Wednesday.

The midweek match was postponed from December because of Madrid's participation in the Club World Cup, which it won to polish off a 2014 that included its 10th European Cup.

Ronaldo, the league's leading scorer, completes his two-game ban for kicking an opponent at Cordoba two rounds ago.

Gareth Bale bailed Ronaldo out by scoring a late penalty to snatch Madrid a victory at Cordoba, and he will be expected to lead Carlos Ancelotti's attack.

Bale's first goal at the Bernabeu came against Sevilla last season, when the Wales winger netted twice to open a 7-3 thrashing by the hosts.

He has since added another 16 goals at Madrid's home ground. But more will be expected of the player who cost a record 100-million-euros transfer after his sub-par showing last weekend, when Karim Benzema picked up the slack with two goals to beat Real Sociedad 4-1.

Bale is earning a reputation at Madrid for both scoring great goals and for not sharing the ball when teammates may be better positioned. Ancelotti has defended him as "working for the team."

After finishing 2014 on a Spanish record 22-win streak, Madrid has won only four of its last seven games in all competitions.

It holds a one-point lead over Barcelona and needs to avoid a stumble against Sevilla, which has risen above Valencia into fourth place and the last Champions League spot.

Madrid, however, has been unstoppable at home in league play since its last home loss in the league to Atletico Madrid in September, winning seven straight games by the combined score of 28-4.

The league's only undefeated home side, Sevilla, has also fared well on the road with five wins in nine outings.

The match promises scoring, going by last season's 10-goal spectacle.

Madrid leads the competition with 68 goals scored, doubling Sevilla's 34.

But coach Unai Emery has built Sevilla to attack as well. Led by striker Carlos Bacca, the league's fourth leading scorer with 12, it also features young playmakers Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu, both on loan from Barcelona, and forwards Victor "Vitolo" Machin and Iago Aspas.

Madrid will be the more rested side after Sevilla also played in the Copa del Rey last Thursday, when it bowed out to Espanyol 3-2 on aggregate despite a 1-0 win.

Ancelotti may also rotate his starting 11 with the Spanish capital derby at defending champion Atletico looming on Saturday.

Beside Ronaldo, Madrid will still be without defender Pepe and midfielder Luca Modric due to injury.

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter

Featured

The 2018/19 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs
Vote

After slow starts to their respective 2018/19 Absa Premiership campaigns, who will finish the season ranked higher?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.