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Real Madrid have failed to channel their club friendly form into competitive fixtures. In midweek, they eased to a 4-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna to eventually lift the Teresa Herrera Trofeo. Seven days before, Los Blancos had featured in the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy and recorded a 5-0 win over Al-Sadd of Saudi Arabia.
It has looked so easy for the 2013 International Champions Cup winners to cruise past Internazionale, Chelsea and other big teams in friendly matches this summer. However, things appear difficult for Ancelotti and his men in the Spanish La Liga.
Battles against Real Betis and Granada were tight. They were characterized by lack of flow in play, defensive lapses and inefficiency in attack. In short, Los Blancos are yet to show their best form in the league, although they have managed to do what counts most – which is to clinch maximum points.
While the imminent inclusion of Gareth Bale seems to shake up the coach’s tactical plans, Cristiano Ronaldo has not been scoring. The prolific goal scorer has an excellent record against Athletic Bilbao, having found the net 10 times in eight meetings. A single goal on Sunday would see him join Real Madrid icons Hugo Sanchez, Ferenc Puskas and Raul Gonzalez as top scorers against Bilbao.
Meanwhile, Sunday’s Santiago Bernabeu visitors are looking to keep their good form. Like the Spanish giants, the Basque side has won its opening two games in La Liga. Moreover, they seat two places above Madrid – in third position precisely – due to a slightly better goal difference.
Clashes between Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao usually produce a flurry of goals with the former dominating clearly. This time, the outcome could be closer as both sides have recorded no less than three clean sheets in their respective last five matches.
Watch Real Madrid vs Athletic Bilbao live on Sunday, September 1, 2013:
Other channels listed on the match page’s TV Schedule tab include Al Jazeera Sport +3, Al Jazeera Sports HD2, ESPN HD India and SuperSport 3 Africa. Find full details here. Videos will be available after the match while live scores will be available throughout the encounter.