Rayo Vallecano have been in quite an improved run of form lately, but their relegation scares are far from over as they will have to deal with in-form Real Madrid at the worst possible moment in the closing stages of the campaign.
Rayo moving up
Rayo Vallecano have done great to move five points clear of Primera Division relegation zone after claiming a four-point tally from last two games. Paco Jemez’s men have managed to defeat the UEFA Europa League semi-finalist Villarreal 2-1 last week, before drawing 1-1 at Malaga in their mid-week match. Jemez’s charges were unlucky to run away with three points as Federico Ricca struck an injury-time equalizer to deny Rayo a crucial win in their survival bid. Los Vallecanos have been in five form of late, having lost only one of their last six matches in the league and are heading into the La Liga run-in feeling optimistic about their chances despite the tight schedule. Real Madrid are a huge challenge more so because the memories of that 10-2 loss to Los Blancos are still fresh, but things will get no easier for Los Vallecanos who are traveling to Vicente Calderon just seven days after the game with Los Blancos. Final two matches of the campaign will be as difficult since Rayo are making a trip to visit Real Sociedad before they wrap up the season with a home game vs Levante.
Season is over for keeper Tono and winger Patrick Eberto, who suffered serious injuries at the end of last year. In addition, the hosts will be without Razvan Rat who is struggling with a shoulder injury, while David Cobero and Piti are also out due to their back and malleolar injuries, respectively.
Eight in a row for Real Madrid
Zinedine ZIdane’s men have improved their form significantly since the Madrid derby loss back in February. Los Blancos have notched up eight consecutive La Liga victories and two more in the Champions League with that 2-0 stunner in Wolfsburg being their only loss since the game against Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid have been impressive in their most recent performances as they have struck 15 goals in last four games to keep pressure to the leading duo of Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, who are just a point ahead of Zidane’s men. Cristiano Ronaldo has been in particularly impressive form recently as the Portuguese star is once again enjoying his football in the Spanish capital. La Liga top scorer with 31 goals and 11 assists from 34 rounds looks set to renew his contract with the club and Spanish media suggest that Ronaldo is close to putting pen to paper on a new deal that will see him remain at Santiago Bernabeu until 2020. The Portuguese has played every single minute of Real’s 34 La Liga games this season including the 3-0 win over Villarreal despite picking up an injury in the closing stages of the game.
ZInedine Zidane will have to be careful with his key man Ronaldo who limped off with a hamstring complaint towards the end of the Wednesday’s game. With no other injury concerns, Zinedine Zidane will once again have his full crop of players to choose from.
Rayo Vallecano did great to pick up their form in the crucial stage of the campaign, but their improved run of form is about to hit the brick wall as Los Blancos are sure to be too big of an obstacle. Zinedine Zidane’s men want to keep adding pressure to the top two sides of La Liga table and will not back down in their efforts to get back in the title frame.
Top pick: Away win 1.3 (3/10) @WilliamHill
Alternative pick 1: HT/FT Away win 1.83 (5/6) @Coral
Alternative pick 2: Over 3.5 goals 1.73 (8/11) @Bet365