Millennium Post

Madrid derby highlight of La Liga weekend action, VAR incorporated

Madrid: Madrid is the scene of nearly all of the action this Saturday as the Liga Santander returns following the international break.
The capital hosts the Madrid derby between Atletico and Real Madrid, while league leaders FC Barcelona visit Leganes and Getafe boss Pepe Bordalas comes face to face with his former club as Alaves play at the Alfonso Perez Coliseum.
Getafe start the day and will be grateful to see third from bottom Alaves after kicking off their return to the top flight with home games against Real Madrid, Barcelona, Sevilla, Real Sociedad and Villarreal, all of whom finished in the top-six last season.
Alaves have improved as a defensive unit of late under Gianni de Biassi and will believe they have the chance of springing a surprise.
Barcelona are still without Dembele and Rafinha, while Javier Mascherano is out for the visit to Leganes. Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde will be keeping his fingers crossed that neither Gerard Pique nor Samuel Umtiti pick up a booking which would see them suspended for next weekend's visit to Valencia.
Paco Alcacer should retain his place after two goals against Sevilla a fortnight ago showed he is an option for Valverde in attack.
Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo faces his former club when Celta Vigo travel to the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. Celta picked up a morale boosting win at home to Athletic Club Bilbao two weeks ago and will look to build on that.
There is no doubt that the Madrid derby is the highlight of the weekend and the game will become even more important if Barcelona win in Leganes earlier in the day to stretch their lead over Atletico and Real to 11 points before kickoff.
That would mean defeat for either side would leave them trailing in the title race and both Diego Simeone and Zinedine Zidane will be looking for their star players to respond to the occasion.
Antoine Griezmann has been struggling for goals at Atletico, while Ronaldo has hit the net just once in the league for Real this campaign. Meanwhile Gareth Bale remains injured and Atletico hope the return of Koke will add spark to their midfield.
Santader to have VAR technology
Madrid: The Spanish Liga Santander will have a system of VAR in operation in two years' time. Sanchez Arminio, president, referees Committee at the Spanish Football Federation, said the VAR will be used in the league at the start of 2019-20.
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