Valencia seek club record against Getafe
Valencia will set a club record if they extend their unbeaten streak to 14 Spanish league games against Getafe on Sunday.Updated: Feb 23, 2006 19:11 IST
Valencia will set a club record if they extends their unbeaten streak to 14 Spanish league games against Getafe on Sunday.
Valencia's victory over Real Sociedad last weekend equaled the landmark set in the 2001-2002 season when the team, coached by Rafa Benitez, won the first of two titles in three seasons.
"Avoiding defeat motivates us and if we can break a record that's even better. It's very difficult to continue without losing. The less we talk about it, the better our chances of doing so," Valencia goalkeeper Santiago Canizares said.
Valencia, with 49 points from 24 games, trail FC Barcelona by six points. Real Madridare third with 48, while Osasuna come next with 46.
While Quique Sanchez Flores' side has spent the week preparing Sunday's match in which it will be seeking its fourth straight victory, Barcelona and Real Madrid have been involved in draining midweek Champions League games.
"They are going to be very tired. It's tough to play both the league and the later stages of the Champions League," Valencia's injured defender Roberto Ayala told sports daily Marca.
As well as Ayala, Valencia continues to lack Patrick Kluivert, Vicente Rodriguez, and Edu. However, it was boosted last weekend by the return of Spain rightback Curro Torres after a nine-month injury absence.
The encounter reunites Sanchez Flores with the team he led to a 13th-place finish last season, his first in Spain's top flight. The 41-year-old took charge of Valencia in the off season. Getafe, now coached by German Bernd Schuster,are in the 11th place, but is winless in four games.
Barcelona face a tough trip Saturday to 10th-place Zaragoza, the team who eliminatedthem from the Copa del Rey quarterfinals last month and ended their 18-game winning streak.
Yet the leaders' morale will be high following Wednesday's 2-1 Champions League win at Chelsea, who made it favorite to reach the quarterfinals.
Barcelona's victory came four days after the team answered suggestions it was slipping by crushing Real Betis 5-1 in the league to ending a run of two defeats.
Zaragoza, who have advanced to the Copa del Rey final after also eliminating Madrid,are unbeaten in four league games.
Madrid coach Juan Ramon Lopez Caro will try to lift his disappointed players ahead of Sunday's match with 18th-place Mallorca, where they have won on their previous three visits.
The team's 1-0 defeat against Arsenal on Tuesday was a blow for Madrid, who believed their six-game winning streak in the league had signified a change in fortunes.
"Now we're facing a critical month, starting with the game against Mallorca. We'll see if we're able to withstand such a busy calendar or if the pressure will get to us," Madrid vice president Emilio Butragueno told radio station Onda Madrid.
Ronaldo will be in the spotlight after complaining of the treatment he receives from Madrid supporters at matches, saying he may be forced to leave the club when the season ends.
The Brazilian may be partnered in attack by captain Raul Gonzalez, who so far has played twice as a substitute since returning from a serious knee injury in November.
Madrid will be without defender Jonathan Woodgate, who is sidelined again after straining a left hamstring against the English team, as well as midfielder Pablo Garcia.
Mallorca is in better heart after new coach Gregorio Manzano began his tenure last week with a victory over Malaga which ended the team's nine-game winless run.
Also on Sunday, Osasuna hosts eighth-place Deportivo La Coruna seeking a first home victory since their stadium name changed to El Reyno de Navarra at the end of last year.
Osasuna won all nine games this season under the previous name of El Sadar but has drawn twice and lost once following the switch.
In this weekend's other 25th-round games, it's: Athletic Bilbao vs. Villarreal; Espanyol vs. Sevilla; Celta Vigo vs. Cadiz; Real Betis vs. Real Sociedad; Atletico Madrid vs. Malaga; and Alaves vs. Racing Santander.
First Published: Feb 23, 2006 19:11 IST