MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 03:32:39| >> :120:28975:28975:
Dec 9, 2018 at 3.15pm UK at Estadio El Alcoraz (Huesca)
Attendance: 7,341
Huesca
0-1
Real Madrid
FT(HT: 0-1)
Bale (8')

Preview: Huesca vs. Real Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the predicted lineups, team news and a full match preview of Real Madrid's trip to Huesca.

Huesca and Real Madrid will lock horns for the first time in their respective histories at the Estadio El Alcoraz in La Liga on Sunday afternoon.

Madrid are currently fifth in Spain's top flight, five points off leaders Barcelona. Huesca, meanwhile, are rooted to the bottom of the table on seven points.


Huesca

Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates scoring during his side's La Liga clash with Huesca on September 2, 2018© Reuters

As recent as 2004, Huesca were competing in the fourth tier of Spanish football, but the Aragon-based club now find themselves in La Liga. It has been some rise when considering that they were in the Segunda B division three years ago.

After finishes of 12th and sixth in the Segunda, Huesca earned promotion to La Liga courtesy of a second-place finish last season. The team were tipped to struggle at the start of the campaign, and that has indeed proved to be the case.

Indeed, Huesca have won just one of their 14 La Liga matches this season, drawing four and losing nine. They have only scored 12 times, which is the second-worst record in the division, and have the worst defensive record with 29 goals conceded in their 14 matches to date.

Huesca's sole league win actually arrived on the opening weekend of the campaign away to Eibar, but it has been a real struggle since then. Francisco's team suffered a 2-0 defeat away to Celta Vigo last weekend, and were thumped 4-0 by Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey on Thursday night.

Huesca have a tough finish to 2018 when considering that their next two after this one are against Villarreal and Valencia. Those two have struggled this season, but are still two of the most dangerous teams in Spain's top flight.

Sunday will be a historic occasion for Huesca, but there are three important points to be won. Francisco's team are already seven points off the safety of 17th position, and that could be 10 points by the end of the weekend.

Huesca suffered a 8-2 defeat when they travelled to Barcelona earlier this season, and face the other of La Liga's giant two this weekend. It will be a packed house at the tiny El Alcoraz, and it would go down as one of the most famous afternoons in their history if three points could be secured.

Recent form: LLDLDL
Recent form (all competitions): LLDLLL


Real Madrid

Proud Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari pictured on December 1, 2018© Reuters

When considering that Real Madrid have lost five of their 14 league matches this season, it is incredible that they are only five points off the lead at this stage. Los Blancos really should be out of the title race, but that is simply not the case.

It has been a turbulent start to the 2018-19 campaign, with the club not coping too well since Zinedine Zidane and indeed Cristiano Ronaldo left the club. The experiment of Julen Lopetegui did not work, but Santiago Solari appears to have steadied the ship since coming through the door.

Solari has won seven of his eight matches in charge of Madrid, the last of which was a 6-1 victory over Melilla in the second leg of their last-32 Copa del Rey clash on Thursday afternoon. The only blot on Solari's record was the 3-0 defeat at Eibar in the league on November 24.

Since then, Los Blancos have beaten Roma, Valencia and Melilla. The 2-0 victory over Valencia last weekend made it three successes from their last four league fixtures, and they currently sit fifth in the table on 23 points.

As mentioned, Real are five points off the leaders Barcelona but just one point off fourth-placed Alaves. Solari's side will travel to Huesca this weekend and then host Rayo Vallecano in their final league game before heading to the United Arab Emirates for the 2018 Club World Cup.

It has been a difficult few months for Madrid, but a strong end to 2018 – including landing another Club World Cup – would set them up nicely heading into 2019. It could yet be a successful campaign for the club, who are chasing a fourth straight Champions League title.

There will once again be eyes on Gareth Bale this weekend, with the Welshman going through a difficult patch. Bale has only managed three league goals this season but might see Sunday's clash as the perfect chance to boost his tally.

Recent form: LLWWLW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWLWW


Team News

Gareth Bale celebrates scoring for Real Madrid on November 7, 2018© Reuters

Luisinho and Ruben Semedo are both on the sidelines for Huesca, but head coach Francisco has no fresh injury concerns from the Copa del Rey clash with Athletic Bilbao on Thursday night.

Alex Gallar is Huesca's leading scorer in the league this season with three, and the Spaniard will be joined in the final third by David Ferreiro and Cucho Hernandez.

Madrid boss Solari will be without two of his first-choice midfield three this weekend, with Toni Kroos joining Casemiro on the sidelines.

Marco Asensio scored twice in Thursday's 6-1 win over Melilla in the Copa del Rey and could start, while Dani Ceballos should also return to the XI.

Lucas Vazquez was on the scoresheet in the 2-0 win over Valencia last weekend, meanwhile, and the Spaniard should keep his position in the starting XI.

The likes of Thibaut Courtois, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Karim Benzema and Bale all played no part against Melilla during the week and all will be part of Real Madrid's XI for this match.

Huesca possible starting lineup:
Jovanovic; Miramon, Pulido, Etxeita, Akapo; Musto, Gomez; Gallar, Rivera, Ferreiro; Hernandez

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Ceballos, Modric, Asensio; Vazquez, Benzema, Bale


Head To Head

Sunday will be the first ever meeting between Huesca and Real Madrid, although Real Madrid Castilla recorded a 5-1 win over Huesca back in April 2013.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Huesca 0-3 Real Madrid

Real Madrid will be far too strong for a out-of-form Huesca on the afternoon. We fancy a routine 3-0 win for the European champions.



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Vinicius Junior celebrates the own goal during the La Liga game between Real Madrid and Real Valladolid on November 3, 2018
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Saturday's key events


TRIATHLON
· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

SWIMMING
· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

ATHLETICS
· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

RUGBY SEVENS
· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

SAILING
· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

TENNIS
· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
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