Vital Sunday in La Liga title race

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Madrid, Jan 17 (IANS) The future of the Primera Liga will take a decisive turn Sunday as Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid all play vital matches.

Real Madrid make the short trip to Getafe with a one point lead over Barca and a four point advantage over Atletico, but with a game in hand over both, reports Xinhua.

Should Carlo Ancelotti’s side win their mid-day kick off it would immediately pressure on both of their rivals.

Real travel on the back of their Kings Cup exit at the hands of Atletico Madrid, but with players insisting afterwards, the Cup was a lesser competition.

Cristiano Ronaldo also revealed that he was playing in pain as the result of injury, but there is no doubt about the striker’s presence in the starting 11.

One player who misses out, however, is central defender Pepe, who has a rib injury and he will be replaced by Rafael Varene.

Barcelona are also away from home and have to face Deportivo la Coruna, who were beaten 2-8 by Real Madrid in their Riazor Stadium earlier this season.

Barca cruised into the last eight of the Cup with an 9-0 aggregate over Elche and coach Luis Enrique had the luxury of being able to rest his star players, so Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez are all rested for this game along with Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets.

Xavi Hernandez is a doubt with a calf injury, but the coach is likely to repeat the eleven that performed so well in defeating Atletico last weekend.

Atletico meanwhile will face Granada in the Vicente Calderon Stadium with their morale sky-high after knocking Real out of the Cup.

Granada travel to the Calderon two days after Joaquin Caparros was sacked for a run of results which has not seen them win in the league since Sep 20, 2014 and they are now bottom of the table.

Atletico will be able to welcome Mario Mandzukic, who missed out Thursday due to flu, back in the side with Cup hero, Fernando Torres likely to drop to the bench.

There will be a celebratory atmosphere in the Calderon, but also the knowledge that failure to take three points will probably leave Atletico seven points behind Real and out of the title race.

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