Real Madrid looking for victory against Galatasaray

(190207) — BARCELONA, Feb. 7, 2019 (Xinhua) — Real Madrid’s Luka Modric (2nd R) competes with FC Barcelona’s Arthur Melo (1st R) during the Spanish King’s Cup semifinal first leg match between FC Barcelona and Real Madrid in Barcelona, Spain, on Feb. 6, 2019. The match ended with a 1-1 draw. (Xinhua/Joan Gosa)

(Rahnuma) : Real Madrid will entertain Galatasaray in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium on Wednesday in a game where a win will go a long way in assuring their place in the knockout stage of the Champions League.

Madrid’s 1-0 victory in Istanbul a fortnight ago may have only left them on four points from three games in their qualifying group, but Paris Saint Germain’s (PSG) 5-0 win in Bruges means that if PSG secure a home win against the Belgian side (as expected), a win in Madrid on Wednesday would give Real Madrid a five-point cushion over third place, reports Xinhua news agency.

Zinedine Zidane’s men go into the game after another disappointing display at the weekend which saw them held 0-0 at home by struggling Betis and Zidane needs his strikers to be more effective than at the weekend.

Gareth Bale is again missing from the Real Madrid squad due to the calf injury he picked up in the last international break and the Spanish sporting papers are increasingly speculating that the Welshman could leave the club in January and that he could even have played his last game for Real Madrid.

James Rodriguez is also sidelined with a muscle problem, which is taking longer to mend than expected, so Zidane doesn’t have too many different options from the side that fired blanks at the weekend.

One likely change will see Fede Valverde back to inject some energy into central midfield and Marcelo could step in to give more attacking projection at left-back, while Zidane may opt to replace one young Brazilian winger, Rodrygo with another, Vinicius Jr.

Galatasaray will be cheered on by around 3,000 travelling fans, but their cause is not helped by an injury to striker Radamel Falcao, who has travelled with the team but won’t form part of the Matchday squad, while full-back Sener Ozbayrakli is also out after being injured in Galatasaray’s last game.

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