Messi, Falcao go head to head in Camp Nou

2012-12-13 13:18:52 GMT2012-12-13 21:18:52(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

The big game in the BBVA Primera Liga this Sunday will see the best two strikers in Spain go head to head in the Camp Nou Stadium.

It shouldn't be like that given the depth of talent on the pitch but Barcelona - Atletico Madrid is going to be all about Leo Messi taking on Radamel Falcao as Barca look to open a nine-point lead over the side currently second in the Primera Liga table.

Falcao is the second highest scorer in the league and his five goal tally against Deportivo la Coruna on Sunday saw him share headlines with Messi, who scored twice against Betis to break Gerd Muller's 40-year record of scoring 85 goals in a year.

Messi netted two more in Wednesday's Copa del Rey clash away to Cordoba to take his tally to 88 for 2012 with two matches left to play.

Real Madrid will hope that Atletico, who lost in the Bernabeu two weeks ago will take points of Barcelona (as they have done in the past) to allow Jose Mourinho's side to narrow their 11 point deficit against Barca.

Madrid are clear favorites to defeat Espanyol in the Bernabeu on Sunday. Espanyol are second from bottom of the table and although they have improved since the arrival of Javier Aguirre as coach with two draws in two games, they have traditionally lost to Madrid, although Karmin Benzema will be doubtful after suffering an ankle injury in their Cup defeat away to Celta Vigo.

The weekend's matches kick off on Saturday when Getafe entertain an Osasuna whose recent recovery was halted by a 1-0 defeat to Valencia last week. Getafe meanwhile are on the verge of European places.

There is crisis in Mallorca as the home side entertain Athletic Club Bilbao. Mallorca go into the game on the back of 10 league games without a win and a 5-0 home defeat to Sevilla in the Cup, which has put Joaquin Caparros' job on the line. Meanwhile Athletic were stunned when they were knocked out of the cup by third tier side, Eibar on Wednesday.

Granada coach Juan Anquela could lose his job if his side fails to beat a confident Real Sociedad, while Sevilla coach Michel Gonzalez will find the pressure increase in his side lose an Andalusian derby against high-flying Malaga.

Sunday's games see Real Zaragoza entertain an impressive Levante, before Ernesto Valverde makes his home debut as Valencia coach against a Rayo Vallecano side which tends to ship goals away from their Vallecas Stadium.

Meanwhile there are two games on Monday. Luis Oltra's job as Deportivo la Coruna' s job is on the line as his side, currently bottom of the table play at home to a well-organized Valladolid, while an impressive Betis are away to Celta, who need a win in order to put distance between themselves and the relegation zone.

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