MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 02:12:33| >> :120:24169:24169:
Mar 31, 2019 at 7.45pm UK at Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)
Attendance: 49,269
Real Madrid
3-2
Huesca
Isco (25'), Ceballos (62'), Benzema (89')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Cucho (3'), Etxeita (74')

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

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Sunday's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Huesca.

Real Madrid will be looking to record their third straight La Liga win when they welcome struggling Huesca to the Bernabeu on Sunday night.

Los Blancos have beaten Real Valladolid and Celta Vigo in their last two matches to move to within two points of second-placed Atletico Madrid, while Huesca currently sit bottom of Spain's top flight.


Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane ahead of Real Madrid's La Liga fixture with Celta Vigo on March 16, 2019.© Reuters

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a very disappointing season for Madrid. On their third manager of the campaign, Los Blancos did land another Club World Cup in the latter stages of 2018, but they will be unable to lift any of the three major trophies that they play for each campaign.

It did appear that Madrid had a real chance of reaching the Copa del Rey final after picking up a 1-1 draw away to Barcelona in the first leg of their semi-final, but the Catalan giants recorded a 3-0 victory at the Bernabeu in the second leg to advance to the final of the competition once again.

Barca then all but ended Madrid's already-slim title hopes with a 1-0 victory at the Bernabeu in the league on March 2, before Ajax dumped the capital giants out of the Champions League in the round of 16.

Neither Julen Lopetegui nor Santiago Solari did enough to convince, but Zidane is now back in charge of the club. The Frenchman made a winning start to his second spell - a 2-0 home success over Celta Vigo before the international break. Madrid are still 12 points off league leaders Barca, but they will have second position in their sights.

The club's supporters will be demanding that their team finishes the campaign strongly, but there is no question that Zidane is already preparing for next season.

It is understood that the Frenchman will have a significant transfer budget in this summer's window, amid suggestions that the likes of Chelsea's Eden Hazard and Tottenham Hotspur's Christian Eriksen could arrive. One thing is for sure - it will be a busy few months ahead of the 2019-2020 campaign.

Too many of Madrid's stars have underperformed this season, but Karim Benzema has struck 22 times in all competitions and Zidane will again look to his fellow countryman for goals this weekend.

Los Blancos have lost four times at the Bernabeu in the league this season, though, which is another indication of the type of campaign it has been for the reigning European champions.

Recent form: WLWLWW
Recent form (all competitions): WLLLWW


Huesca

Real Madrid attacker Gareth Bale in action against Huesca on December 9, 2018.© Reuters

Sunday will be a famous occasion for Huesca as they travel to the Bernabeu for the first time in their history. Indeed, the meeting between the two teams earlier this season - which ended in a 1-0 Madrid win -was be the first time that the pair had locked horns.

Huesca finished second in the Segunda Division last term to earn a spot in the top flight for the first time. They were actually playing Segunda B football as recently as 2015 but are now in the big time.

All things considered, Huesca deserve huge praise for their form this season. As it stands, they are bottom of the table on 22 points, but the situation is not terminal as 17th-placed Villarreal are just seven points ahead.

It is going to take some effort for them to escape the bottom three when considering that they have only recorded five league victories up until this point, but stranger things have happened.

Francisco's side have lost their last two in La Liga to Getafe and Alaves, but recorded a huge 2-1 victory at home to Sevilla earlier this month. Back-to-back wins over Real Valladolid and Girona in February gave Huesca a platform to build from, but they will have to rely on the teams around them dropping points.

In truth, whether Huesca remain in the league this season is not going to depend on their results against either Madrid or Barcelona, whom they host next month. The Aragon-based outfit have a huge game at home to Celta Vigo next week, though, and might feel that they simply have to triumph in that particular fixture.

It would be true to say that both Huesca's defensive and attacking records this season are amongst the worst in La Liga, but they gave a strong account of themselves in the reverse clash with Madrid back in December and it will not be a walkover for the home side this weekend.

Recent form: WLDWLL


Team News

Vinicius Junior celebrates the own goal during the La Liga game between Real Madrid and Real Valladolid on November 3, 2018© Reuters

Madrid are still without the services of Vinicius Junior and Dani Carvajal through injury, while Thibaut Courtois trained alone on Thursday and Friday after feeling some 'discomfort'.

As a result, Keylor Navas is expected to get the nod between the sticks once again, while Alvaro Odriozola should keep his spot at right-back.

Casemiro is back from a domestic suspension, while Gareth Bale and Marco Asensio should both keep their positions in the team despite Lucas Vazquez being available once again following injury.

Marcelo and Sergio Reguilon will again go head to head for the left-back position.

As for Huesca, winger David Ferreiro is suspended, while midfielder Gonzalo Melero and full-back Luisinho are both on the sidelines through injury.

Enric Gallego and Ezequiel Avila should both keep their spots in the final third of the field, with on-loan Watford forward Cucho Fernandez expected to start on the bench once again.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Navas; Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Asensio

Huesca possible starting lineup:
Santamaria; Exteita, Pulido, Mantovani, Dieguez, Galan; Herrera, Rivera, Moi Gomez; Gallego, Avila


Head To Head

As mentioned, the reverse clash earlier this season was the first ever meeting between the two teams - the contest was decided by an eighth-minute Bale effort.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Real Madrid 3-0 Huesca

Madrid are certainly feeling much better about themselves at the moment following Zidane's return and should have more than enough to overcome Huesca at the Bernabeu on Sunday night.



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Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring against Girona in the Copa del Rey on January 24, 2019.
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· 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)

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