Real Madrid vs Rayo Vallecano
Estadio Santiago Bernabeu forms the backdrop for Real Madrid’s bid to get back to winning ways in La Liga, with out-of-sorts Rayo Vallecano touching down in the capital.
A thumping 4-0 defeat at Manchester City in the return leg of their blockbuster Champions League semi-final tie dampened the spirits within the Real Madrid ranks, as evidenced by a dramatic 1-0 loss at relegation-battling Valencia at the weekend. Following another scoreless outing overshadowed by racial abuse directed toward Vinicius Junior, Carlo Ancelotti’s men return to the Bernabeu, where they’ve won three league fixtures on the trot after a 3-2 defeat to Villarreal in early April. Vallecano’s upcoming visit to the Spanish capital can only encourage Madrid’s bid to remain on the upward trajectory at home, considering they’ve won their last ten league meetings with this opposition as hosts. But a 3-2 loss in the reverse fixture should serve as a warning, even though ‘Los Merengues’ have only lost once in their last 22 league games on Wednesday (European time).
In the meantime, Rayo Vallecano slumped to a 2-1 home loss to Espanyol at the weekend, making it three defeats from their last four La Liga matches (W1). However, a top-half finish remains on the cards, as they commence this round only one point adrift of 10th-placed Osasuna despite only picking up two points on their last seven La Liga travels (D2, L5). Scoring has been a genuine problem for Andoni Iraola’s side in that patch, as they netted a measly average of 0.57 goals per game, never scoring more than once. But after a pair of low-scoring draws against Atletico Madrid and Barcelona on hostile turf, Vallecano could win points against all three Spanish heavy-hitters away from home in a single season for the first time since 1999/2000.