Lopetegui clinging on ahead of massive El Clasico clash

Lopetegui clinging on ahead of massive El Clasico clash

Soccer

Lopetegui clinging on ahead of massive El Clasico clash

La Liga’s biggest rivals go head-to-head once again on Sunday as Barcelona host Real Madrid at the Nou Camp in the 238th competitive El Clasico.

Barca head into the weekend top of the table, while Madrid are down in seventh place after a disappointing start to the season.

Both sides were victorious in the Champions League this week, with Barcelona recording a 2-0 win over Inter Milan while Madrid triumphed 2-1 against Viktoria Plzen.

Neutral fans watching the Real Madrid live stream will be disappointed to learn that Barca star Lionel Messi will miss the game with an arm injury, but Sunday’s clash still promises to be a cracker.

Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen are also on the sidelines for the home side, while Dani Carvajal is likely to miss out for Madrid.

Barca have held the upper hand over their big rivals in recent times, losing just three of their last 10 meetings in all competitions. Despite that run, manager Ernesto Valverde is taking nothing for granted.

“Madrid can be even more dangerous,” he told a press conference after his side’s victory over Inter.

“They will come out here to face us and although they come in crisis will want to demonstrate their strength, which they have because they have great players.”

A poor run of form has cranked up the pressure on Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui, although the club has confirmed that the former Spain coach will be in charge for Sunday’s game at least.

Goals have been a problem for Madrid this season, with Lopetegui’s side bagging just 13 in nine league outings.

Tuesday’s victory over Plzen was their first in six matches in all competitions and Lopetegui is eager to see his side build on that result in one of football’s most iconic matches.

“We have not been able to finish the game off with more goals despite the chances,” he said at his post-match news conference. “We wanted to play well and win.

“At times we deserved more but we have been having a hard time scoring. The priority was getting three points and ending a streak that has gone on too long.

“We have broken the run of not winning and we have taken a step forward. Now we must put the two things together.”

Real Madrid picked up just one point from last season’s league meetings, losing 3-0 at home during December before snatching a 2-2 draw at the Nou Camp later in the season.

With the visitors desperately needing to take something from the game, another draw could be on the cards this weekend.

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