European Match of the Weekend: Atletico Madrid v Malaga


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Spain midfielder Xabi Alonso has attacked Real Madrid's attitude after his team appeared to blow their La Liga title hopes, putting leaders Atletico Madrid in pole position with two games to go.

After Atletico's defeat at Levante last weekend, third-placed Real could only muster a draw at home to Valencia and then pick up a point at Valladolid on Wednesday, leaving Carlo Ancelotti's men four points off the pacesetters.

Barcelona, whose championship bid once appeared in tatters, are three points off the lead but could finish first with two wins as they face Atletico in their final match at the Nou Camp.

If Atleti beat Malaga on Sunday then they will need only a point away at Barcelona to take the Liga trophy. An Atleti win will also mean that Real are no longer able to win the title whatever happens on the final day.

"We didn't have the necessary concentration for a game of this importance. After going ahead (through Sergio Ramos) we didn't have the right intensity and they got a valuable draw," Alonso told reporters following the Valladolid clash.

"I hope this doesn't happen again because it was not the sort of game where we can afford to be relaxed. The league is practically over for us as we need some unlikely results to happen but we have to hope."

Real await to hear how serious an injury Cristiano Ronaldo suffered after he limped off inside 10 minutes.
The Portugal forward's participation in the Champions League final against Atletico at the end of the month is one of the club's main worries now.

Barcelona visit Elche on Sunday while Atletico entertain Malaga.

"I still think the defeat for us the other day was the best thing that could have happened to us," said Atletico coach Diego Simeone. "We were all down after the Levante game ... but the team is in good shape. Now we need to respond with facts not words.

"We need to approach the Malaga game like a final, not allow any fear but accept the responsibility. The right psychology is what is needed now from the players to keep driving forward," added Simeone.

"We are showing that by working hard we can compete well and a lot of teams can identify with us. There are a lot of fans of Madrid and Barcelona that congratulate me for what we are doing and that makes me proud."



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Atletico Madrid have only lost one of their last seven league meetings with Malaga (W4 D2), though that did come in the Calderon (0-3 in 2011).

Malaga have scored more goals (seven) than Atletico (four) over the last four league meetings between these sides at the Vicente Calderon.

Bernd Schuster has won three and lost just one of his five league games at the Vicente Calderon as a manager (D1).

Atletico have won their last four home league games without conceding a single goal, scoring a header in each of the last three.

Malaga have won three of their last five away league games, though they have lost the last two without scoring.

Los Rojiblancos need four points from their last two league games to secure their tenth La Liga title.

Atleti have won all 22 league games in which Diego Costa has scored this term (27 goals).

Of the nine players to play 150 games or more for Malaga in La Liga since they reformed, Eliseu has the best win rate (40%).

David Villa has scored in five of his last seven league games against Malaga (seven goals).

Koke, who scored the winner at La Rosaleda this season, has netted six times in the league this term; the same total as Malaga’s top scorer (Roque Santa Cruz).

Thibaut Courtois has the opportunity to become the first goalkeeper to record 21 clean sheets in a single La Liga season since 1998/99 (currently 20).


Atletico Madrid v Malaga - 18:00

Celta Vigo v Real Madrid - 18:00

Elche v Barcelona - 18:00

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