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Nov 28, 2013

Bilbao sense upset against wounded leaders Barca

MADRID (Reuters) – Athletic Bilbao host Barcelona at their new San Mames stadium on Sunday sniffing an upset after the La Liga leaders suffered their first defeat of the season at Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Unbeaten in domestic competition and three points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid at the top after 14 matches, Barca have lost several key players, including Argentina forward Lionel Messi and Spain goalkeeper Victor Valdes, to injury.

Nov 28, 2013

Soccer-Bilbao sense upset against wounded leaders Barca

MADRID, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Athletic Bilbao host Barcelona at their new San Mames stadium on Sunday sniffing an upset after the La Liga leaders suffered their first defeat of the season at Ajax Amsterdam in the Champions League on Tuesday.

Unbeaten in domestic competition and three points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid at the top after 14 matches, Barca have lost several key players, including Argentina forward Lionel Messi and Spain goalkeeper Victor Valdes, to injury.

Nov 28, 2013

Real Madrid defence still a concern for coach Ancelotti

MADRID (Reuters) – Real Madrid may have strolled into the Champions League last 16 with a 4-1 win at home to Galatasaray on Wednesday but coach Carlo Ancelotti levelled some sharp criticism at centre backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe after the game.

While the nine-times European champions have had little trouble finding the net this season, largely thanks to the scintillating form of Cristiano Ronaldo, their defence has been fragile and they have only managed three clean sheets in 15 games in La Liga and one in five Champions League outings.

Nov 28, 2013

Soccer-Real Madrid defence still a concern for coach Ancelotti

MADRID, Nov 28 (Reuters) – Real Madrid may have strolled into the Champions League last 16 with a 4-1 win at home to Galatasaray on Wednesday but coach Carlo Ancelotti levelled some sharp criticism at centre backs Sergio Ramos and Pepe after the game.

While the nine-times European champions have had little trouble finding the net this season, largely thanks to the scintillating form of Cristiano Ronaldo, their defence has been fragile and they have only managed three clean sheets in 15 games in La Liga and one in five Champions League outings.

Nov 27, 2013

Jolted Barca want more intensity from players

MADRID (Reuters) – Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino and captain Carles Puyol have demanded more intensity from the players after Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League defeat at Ajax Amsterdam.

The Group H reverse was Barca’s first loss this season in all competitions – and their first under Martino – which cost them a chance to seal the top spot, having already secured their place in the last 16.

Nov 27, 2013

Soccer-Jolted Barca want more intensity from players

MADRID, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino and captain Carles Puyol have demanded more intensity from the players after Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League defeat at Ajax Amsterdam.

The Group H reverse was Barca’s first loss this season in all competitions – and their first under Martino – which cost them a chance to seal the top spot, having already secured their place in the last 16.

Nov 27, 2013

Soccer-Jolted Barca want more intensity from players

MADRID, Nov 27 (Reuters) – Barcelona coach Gerardo Martino and captain Carles Puyol have demanded more intensity from the players after Tuesday’s 2-1 Champions League defeat at Ajax Amsterdam.

The Group H reverse was Barca’s first loss this season in all competitions – and their first under Martino – which cost them a chance to seal the top spot, having already secured their place in the last 16.

Nov 24, 2013

Uche inspires Villarreal, defeat for Valencia

MADRID (Reuters) – Fourth-placed Villarreal maintained their fine form since winning promotion back to La Liga when Ikechukwu Uche struck twice and captain Bruno Soriano scored a penalty in a 3-0 win at 10-man Levante on Sunday.

As attention turned to Spain’s lesser lights after their four Champions League participants all won on Saturday, Valencia coach Miroslav Djukic’s hopes of clinging on to his job receded when his side lost 2-1 at local rivals Elche.

Nov 24, 2013

Soccer-Uche inspires Villarreal, defeat for Valencia

MADRID, Nov 24 (Reuters) – Fourth-placed Villarreal maintained their fine form since winning promotion back to La Liga when Ikechukwu Uche struck twice and captain Bruno Soriano scored a penalty in a 3-0 win at 10-man Levante on Sunday.

As attention turned to Spain’s lesser lights after their four Champions League participants all won on Saturday, Valencia coach Miroslav Djukic’s hopes of clinging on to his job receded when his side lost 2-1 at local rivals Elche.

Nov 21, 2013

Barca wary of ‘FIFA virus’ ahead of Granada visit

MADRID (Reuters) – Leaders Barcelona host Granada on Saturday (10 a.m EST) hoping to avoid another dose of the “FIFA virus”, the dip in form they have often suffered in their first match back after an international break.

In their two La Liga outings immediately following their players’ return from country duty this season, Barca needed a last-gasp Alexis Sanchez goal to scrape past Sevilla 3-2 in September and were held to a 0-0 draw at Osasuna last month, the only points they have dropped in 13 matches.