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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 1 day ago
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By ESPN Staff
Oct 16, 2008

Real wary of Atletico backlash in derby

MADRID, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Atletico Madrid have had a tumultuous few days after a 6-1 humbling in Barcelona, and recent news of a two-match stadium ban in the Champions League.

As a result, Real Madrid's veteran defender Michel Salgado has predicted a particularly fiery city derby at the Calderon on Saturday.

"They are like a wounded animal after their last game," said the 32-year-old. "They are going to want to put it right against the team they would most like to beat."

Next week's high-profile clash with Liverpool will be on Atletico minds as well as the form books.

They have not triumphed over arch-rivals Real since a 3-1 victory at the Bernabeu in October 1999 and need to look back June of the same year for a home win.

Add to that defeats in their last two league games against Barca and Sevilla and the game assumes greater psychological importance.

Atletico coach Javier Aguirre expects to have winger Simao Sabrosa and striker Diego Forlan back, while midfielders Maniche and Maxi Rodriguez are doubts.

Champions Real, who are four points ahead of seventh-placed Atletico in fifth after six games, also have something to prove after having to come from behind to draw 2-2 at home against Espanyol last time out.

Their coach Bernd Schuster has doubts over midfielders Mahamadou Diarra, Arjen Robben and playmaker Guti.

CAMACHO DEBUT

Unbeaten leaders Valencia, who have won six on the trot in all competitions, host lowly Numancia on Sunday while local rivals Villarreal are in second place on goal difference, and visit Espanyol in Saturday's late game.

Third-placed Sevilla are struggling with a spate of injuries up front after Mali striker Frederic Kanoute and Spain winger Diego Capel were both ruled out of the trip to Almeria on Sunday.

Uruguay's Ernesto Chevanton and Brazil's Luis Fabiano, last season's top scorer with 24 goals, are both injury doubts. Barcelona, in fourth, visit Athletic Bilbao.

Former Spain coach Jose Antonio Camacho takes charge of Osasuna for the first time after replacing the sacked Jose Angel Ziganda earlier in the week.

He will be searching for the Navarrans' first win of the campaign away to promoted Sporting Gijon on Sunday. To do that they will need to score for the first time in more than 360 minutes of football.

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