Real in pursuit of Barca

2014-09-23 12:05
Real Madrid (AFP)

Real Madrid continue their chase of La Liga champions Atletico Madrid and leaders Barcelona when they host Elche at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday.

Carlo Ancelotti's men bounced back from consecutive defeats to Real Sociedad and Atletico in style by scoring 13 goals in thrashings of Basle in the Champions League and away to Deportivo la Coruna in the past week.

Cristiano Ronaldo scored his 23rd hat-trick for the club as Real ran riot in Galicia with an 8-2 mauling of Deportivo on Saturday to equal their best ever away result in La Liga.

And it was also a special day for on-loan Manchester United striker Javier Hernandez as he scored his first two goals for the club.

Hernandez has had to play a supporting role to Karim Benzema in his short spell so far in the Spanish capital, but insists he will not be happy to just settle for a place on the bench.

"I think it was a good game and we have to look at what we did well to continue like this," said the Mexican international.

"All players dream of scoring and fortunately I scored a very nice first goal and then also got a deflection on the second.

"I have never been happy to settle. If you give me a minute I will want two and then three. The time that I am on the field I am going to take advantage of and show that I want more.

"I have to work as hard as possible and with humility."

Hernandez may well get his opportunity at the Bernabeu with Real's squad in the midst of a run of seven games in 22 days.

Real could cut the gap on Barca to three points for at least 24 hours as the Catalans aren't in action until Wednesday when they travel to Malaga.

Luis Enrique's men have won all five of their games in all competitions so far this season without even conceding a goal, but have concerns over the fitness of Brazilian star Neymar due to an ankle problem.

Neymar limped off during the 5-0 thrashing of Levante on Sunday, but youngsters Munir El Haddadi and Sandro have both made their case for inclusion in recent weeks should he miss out.

Atletico Madrid are also in action on Wednesday at Almeria as they look to bounce back from the disappointment of being held 2-2 at home by Celta Vigo on Saturday.

Coach Diego Simeone will serve the final game of his four-match touchline ban in La Liga for being sent-off in Atletico's Spanish Super Cup win over Real last month, with another four matches still to be served in the Super Cup in future years.

Atletico captain Gabi has insisted they can't dwell on their coach's absence as they look to gain revenge for a shock 2-0 defeat when they visited the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterraneos last season.

"The manager is important for us, but the circumstances dictate that he can't be with us. We can't think about it, he imposes a lot of character when he is there but we need to overcome that.

"You cannot blame anyone because the team played well (against Celta). We need to improve and learn from the errors. We need to be a lot more efficient to win these games."

Elsewhere, second-placed Sevilla can ensure they remain in front of Atletico in the table ahead of their weekend trip to the Vicente Calderon when they host Real Sociedad.

And the Galician derby returns after a year's absence as Deportivo try to make amends for their embarrassment by Real when they travel to Celta.

Fixtures (all times GMT)


Real Madrid v Elche (18:00), Celta Vigo v Deportivo la Coruna (20:00)


Eibar v Villarreal, Rayo Vallecano v Athletic Bilbao, Almeria v Atletico Madrid (all 18:00), Sevilla v Real Sociedad, Granada v Levante, Malaga v Barcelona (all 20:00)


Espanyol v Getafe (18:00), Valencia v Cordoba (20:00)


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