Málaga vs Real Madrid: preview, line-ups and betting odds
The Liga title race has come down to the final day of the season and Real Madrid travel to La Rosaleda knowing that a point is all they need to secure the prize.
Málaga welcome Real Madrid with the title on the line
Real Madrid travel to La Rosaleda with one hand on the Liga trophy in the knowledge that a draw against Míchel’s vastly improved Málaga will be sufficient to secure a first national championship since the 2011-12 season. Real will be proclaimed champions whatever the result on the Costa del Sol if Barcelona are beaten in Camp Nou by Eibar but Zinedine Zidane will not leave Real’s destiny in the hands of lady luck and will field his strongest available side in search of three points.
Under Míchel, who took over from El Gato Romero at the beginning of March, Málaga’s results place them fifth in a league based on the games played uder the former Real Madrid midfielder, behind Sunday’s opponents, Barcelona, Atlético and Athletic Bilbao. At home Málaga have been impeccable in recent weeks, racking up wins against Barcelona, Sevilla, Valencia and Celta. During his short tenure Míchel has flexed his tactical muscles, playing a variety of different formations and shoring up a back four that was among the most porous in the division to achieve six clean sheets in his 11 matches in charge.
Míchel said ahead of the game that he would go out to make life uncomfortable for Madrid and take Zinedine Zidane’s “to where they’re not used to being.” The Málaga coach will be unable to field on-loan Madrid defender Diego Llorente, one of many players who have turned the La Rosaleda jeers to cheers in the side’s recent renaissance but can count on all-action midfielder Ignacio Camacho after suspension.
Former Barcelona striker Sandro – who would love to help his former club snatch the Liga crown – will be supported by Juankar from a wing-back role with Keko and Pablo Fornals out wide and Camacho and Recio shoveling coal in the engine room to try and wrest control of the ball from Real’s midfield.
Zidane has taken his entire squad with him to La Rosaleda, injured players included, in preparation for the post-match celebrations but the Real boss was under no illusions that the title is already wrapped up despite his side’s commanding position.
Other than Dani Carvajal the Frenchman has his preferred starting 11 available and will roll out the big guns in La Rosaleda. Isco will start against his old club and the in-form Cristiano Ronaldo will happily shoulder the responsibility for finding the net, having bagged five in his last three Liga outings.
Luka Modric, Casemiro and Toni Kroos will be tasked with patrolling the midfield and opening up spaces among Málaga’s back line, with Míchel not entirely averse to playing a back five with a packed midfield when the occasion demands it.
As ever this season, Zidane will charge his side with going on the offensive from the outset and an early goal will go some way to settling any nerves among the visiting side, 10 of whom have never been this close to a league title before. In La Rosaleda, Zidane will look to his old heads to lead the way towards glory and Sergio Ramos, Marcelo and Ronaldo will do their utmost to ensure that a long-awaited Liga title does not slip through their fingers at the last.
Málaga vs Real Madrid live online: possible line-ups
Málaga XI: Kameni; Torres, Demichelis, Hernández, Ricca, Juankar; Camacho, Recio, Keko, Fornals; Sandro
Real Madrid XI: Navas; Danilo, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Modric, Kroos; Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Coach: Zinedine Zidane
Málaga vs Real Madrid: selected live betting odds
You can get some fancy odds on Málaga raining on Madrid's parade with the home side at 15/1 for the win. Real Madrid to win and both sides to score is priced at 2/1 while a goalless draw is 41/1. Cristiano Ronaldo to bag a hat-trick is chalked up at a measly 5/1 and if you fancy Sandro to open the scoring, the former Barça striker is at 10s.
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