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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Rayo Vallecano-Real Madrid

Whites look to emulate their best run of consecutive victories on the road in La Liga

Alberto Navarro / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell

Real Madrid will face Rayo Vallecano on the road this evening for the first time in nine years with a chance to emulate their best run of consecutive away victories in La Liga and to consolidate their 10-point lead over the runners-up.
The Whites have won their last 13 derbies against neighboring sides (seven against Getafe, five against Atletico, one over Rayo) and haven't lost in Vallecas since 19 January 1997. The Madridistas are also the least scored upon side on the road (0.55 per match)
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Jose Mourinho has included youth teamers Joselu and Jesus on his 20-man squad list. Altintop, Lass, Di Maria and Benzema are injured, while Sahin will also miss the match due to having viral gastroenteritis. Casillas, Alonso and Arbeloa are the only men on the squad who have faced Rayo at their stadium, and the match could also be special for Pepe, who turns 29 years old today and has a chance of making his 100th appearance with the team.

Rayo won their last three league games and are currently only one point from Europa League qualifying positions and two shy of making it to the UCL next year.

Coach Sandoval won't be able to count on the injured Michel but has recovered the services of top scorer Michu (11 goals in 2,049 minutes), Arribas and Casado. Real Madrid will have to keep an eye on Diego Costa because he's been scoring goals ever since he made his debut with the team through a loan transfer with Atletico.

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