Tuesday, May 28, 2024 | Last Update : 11:18 PM IST

  Derby fight for Barcelona

Derby fight for Barcelona

AFP
Published : Jan 2, 2016, 12:13 am IST
Updated : Jan 2, 2016, 12:13 am IST

Defending champs take on neighbours Espanyol in La Liga match

Barcelona.jpg
 Barcelona.jpg

Defending champs take on neighbours Espanyol in La Liga match

Barca rounded off a five-trophy haul in 2015 with a 4-0 win over Real Betis in midweek to also set a new record tally for Spanish football of 180 goals in a calendar year. Their quest to repeat that feat in 2016 comes in the first of three Barcelona derbies to Espanyol on Saturday.

The teams will also meet over two legs in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey.“2015 has been the best year for all of us. To end the year in this way feels great, but we are aware that in three days we begin a new year with a special game,” captain Andres Iniesta told Barca TV.

Iniesta, Gerard Pique and Jordi Alba are all expected to return after being rested against Betis as Barca look to extend a seven-game winning run against their local rivals.

Atletico’s late show with two goals in the final two minutes at Rayo Vallecano on Wednesday ensured they stayed level with Barca at the top of the table, albeit having played a game more.

Angel Correa scored and Thomas Partey and Jackson Martinez provided assists off the bench in Vallecas and all three could be rewarded with starts when the league’s bottom side Levante visit the Vicente Calderon.

Real Madrid coach Rafael Benitez returns to Valencia, where he won two league titles with Los Che, fighting to hold onto his job on Sunday.

Madrid’s awful 2015 began with defeat at the Mestalla which ended a 22-game winning run and led to the eventual sacking of Carlo Ancelotti after he failed to deliver a major trophy.

And his successor could also be set for the chop after just six months in charge should Real suffer a fourth league defeat in eight games. Yet, despite another unconvincing display in seeing off Real Sociedad 3-1 on Wednesday.

Location: Spain, Madrid