La Liga: Real Madrid vs. Espanyol
Cristiano Ronaldo will not play tonight against Espanyol after the Spanish Committee of Sporting Discipline (CEDD) rejected the appeal Real Madrid had lodged over the Portugal star’s two-game suspension.
Ronaldo was given the penalty for elbowing Malaga defender Patrick Jan Mtiliga in the face during a match on Jan. 24. The 25-year-old forward was fined $843 and was banned from playing two games. The first match of the suspension was served in last week’s encounter against Deportivo, a match Los Merengues won easily.
Karim Benzema scored two goals in that fixture, and Madrid coach Manuel Pellegrini is positive he can field a team capable of winning even if Ronaldo is not around.
The Spanish giants are currently five points adrift of leaders Barca and Pellegrini knows there is no margin for error at this stage in the tournament. He said: “It is very important to claim points because every point that is lost makes achieving our aims more difficult.”
The Catalans are still unbeaten in La Liga this term and have conceded just 10 goals in 20 games.
UPDATE: First-half goals from Sergio Ramos and Kaka put Real Madrid in control, and Gonzalo Higuain added a third late on as Los Merengues defeated Espanyol 3-0 to stay in touch with La Liga leaders Barcelona.