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Real Madrid, Racing have injury worries ahead of Wednesday's match

09-21-2011 14:12 BJT

MADRID, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) -- Both Real Madrid and Racing Santander have selection issues ahead of Wednesday's clash in Racing's El Sardinero Stadium.

The Real Madrid website on Monday confirmed that central defender Pepe and midfielder Fabio Coentrao will miss the game with muscle injuries they picked up in Sunday's humiliating defeat away to Levante.

Pepe has a torn muscle in his thigh, while Coentrao has a calf injury. With Sami Khedira out through suspension as a result of his red card at the weekend, Mourinho will have to make changes.

Either Lassana Diarra or Esteban Granero will partner Xabi Alonso in central midfield, while Mourinho has options in defense. He could opt to play Raul Albiol or new signing Rafael Varene in a straight swap in central defense or move Sergio Ramos in from right back with Alvaro Arbeloa stepping in at right back.

Meanwhile Mesut Ozil will replace the disappointing Kaka in the starting 11, while Cristiano Ronaldo will also be back in the starting side after playing just 45 minutes at the weekend.

The press have been critical of Madrid and of the changes Mourinho made against Levante and his side needs to take all three points, given how close the title race is likely to be between Madrid and Barcelona this season.

Racing also have injury worries, indeed their problems are worse than Madrid's: midfielders Gustavo Colsa, Manuel Arana and Kennedy Bakicoglu will miss the game along with central defender Marc Torrejon and striker Lautaro Arana, meanwhile club captain, Pedro Munitis is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Racing have had a poor start to the season, conceding two late goals to lose 4-3 away to Valencia, drawing 0-0 at home to Levante a week ago and being comprehensibly beaten 4-0 by Atletico Madrid on Sunday.

Coach Hector Cuper needs to find a solution to his side's problems in defense, but with limited resources that will not be easy to do and it looks as if it is going to be a long and complicated season.

On paper Real Madrid could not have asked for an easier victim, but that is what many thought before kick off at the weekend.

Editor:Yang Jie |Source: Xinhua

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