杭州夜生活

Betis coach Mel fears Real ‘raging bull’

Betis, the second-division champions who are based in the Andalusian capital, play at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu stadium (2030 GMT) after the world’s richest club by income were held to a 0-0 draw at another promoted side, Sporting Gijon, in their opening game of the campaign last weekend.

杭州桑拿

It was a frustrating return to La Liga for Real’s new coach Rafa Benitez and he and the players, including FIFA Ballon d’Or holder Cristiano Ronaldo, will be desperate to put on a good show for their fans.

Real also struggled to score goals in some of their pre-season warmup matches, raising concerns they might not have enough firepower to challenge for silverware in Spain and Europe after failing to win a major trophy last term.

Mel, who returned to Betis in December after a failed stint at English club West Bromwich Albion, dismissed such concerns as “laughable”.

“It seems like a joke because they have a player (Ronaldo) who will score more goals on his own than 15 of the teams in the first division,” he said in an interview with As sports daily published on Thursday.

“I have a soft spot for the fans of Sporting but we would have liked Madrid to have beaten them convincingly because now we get the raging bull,” he added.

“Madrid neither won nor scored in their opening game and that means this home game will be doubly special for them.

“I don’t know if it’s science fiction but we have to make the game crowded for them.

“With fast players like (Gareth) Bale and Cristiano you can’t allow spaces, you have to be compact.”

Spanish and European champions Barcelona, chasing a sixth La Liga title in eight years, host Malaga earlier on Saturday (1830) after winning 1-0 at Athletic Bilbao on the opening weekend.

Barca coach Luis Enrique could have Neymar back after illness, reuniting the club’s lethal attack of the Brazil forward, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, who netted a Spanish record 122 goals among them last season.

Possibly the game of matchday two sees Europa League holders Sevilla at home to 2014 Champions League finalists Atletico Madrid on Sunday (1830).

(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)