La Liga preview: Record chasing Real look to maintain lead

The European champions needed a sensational late fightback to start its Champions League defence with a win on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata scored in the final minutes to turn around a 1-0 deficit against Sporting Lisbon.

Madrid can set a club record of 16 La Liga wins with victory at Espanyol on Sunday.   -  AP

Barca's defeat to Alaves means it is playing catch-up to Real Madrid after just three games. Madrid has made a perfect start to the campaign and can set a club record of 16 La Liga wins with victory at Espanyol on Sunday.

The European champions needed a sensational late fightback to start its Champions League defence with a win on Wednesday as Cristiano Ronaldo and Alvaro Morata scored in the final minutes to turn around a 1-0 deficit against Sporting Lisbon.

"My dream is to be a success here," said Morata, who rejoined the club in June after a two-year spell at Juventus. "A goal like that, at home, in the Champions League, was a dream since I was a kid." Morata is expected to replace Karim Benzema up front alongside Ronaldo and Gareth Bale, should the Welshman shake off a hip injury that forced him off early in midweek.

James Rodriguez is also in contention for his first start of the season after impressing as a substitute and setting up Morata's winner. Atletico will look to build on the momentum of its first two wins of the season away at Celta Vigo and PSV Eindhoven in the past week when it returns to the Vicente Calderon to face high-flying Sporting Gijon on Saturday.

Sporting could go top with a surprise victory after taking seven points from its opening three games. Sevilla also has the chance to move to the top of the table for at least 24 hours when it travels to Eibar. Valencia will hope to snap its worst start to a season for 17 years by picking up its first point at Athletic Bilbao.



Fixtures:

Saturday: Leganes v Barcelona, Atletico Madrid v Sporting Gijon, Eibar v Sevilla, Las Palmas v Malaga

Sunday: Osasuna v Celta Vigo, Athletic Bilbao v Valencia, Villarreal v Real Sociedad, Espanyol v Real Madrid

Monday: Alaves v Deportivo la Coruna

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