Real Madrid face Cordoba to kick off La Liga action
Carlo Ancelotti’s side will look to maintain top spot in La Liga
Madrid, Jan 23 Real Madrid and Cordoba will open La Liga's 20th round Saturday, in which the Spanish football league leaders will seek to defend their position in the standings, eyed closely by second-placed FC Barcelona, who will visit Elche.
At the same time, Abel Resino will return to the managing bench for bottom-team Granada, who will face Deportivo.
After the end of the first-leg matches in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals, La Liga will resume with five games to be played Saturday, including the top trio (Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid).
This round will also include a match between Athletic Bilbao and Malaga, the second of three matches played between the two teams in nine days, both in the league and cup competitions.
Real Madrid were crowned as the winter champion after a 3-0 win against Getafe a week ago, and still have a match to play versus Sevilla, which was previously postponed due to Real Madrid's participation in the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco in 2014.
Los Blancos will be meeting Cordoba in an away match while leading the standings with 45 points, just one point ahead of Barcelona.
After the match between Real Madrid and Cordoba, Elche will host Barcelona, who ran over Deportivo La Coruna in the previous round with a 4-0 win and later defeated Atletico Madrid Wednesday 1-0 in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.
Barca had previously defeated Elche 3-0 in the first half of the Liga season, and thrashed them again in both legs of the Copa del Rey's Round of 16 with a devastating 9-0 aggregate.
Atletico de Madrid will be hosting Rayo Vallecano in Saturday's third match.
Coming in third place with 41 points, the Rojiblancos will be playing this game after a narrow defeat to Barcelona Wednesday.
Diego Godin and Quini, Atletico de Madrid and Rayo players, respectively, will be missing the game due to suspension.
The round will conclude with a game between Getafe and Celta de Vigo.