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Real Madrid clear favourites for 3 points in Huesca (Preview)

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Madrid, Dec 8 (IANS) Real Madrid will be confident of taking all three points when they visit bottom side Huesca in La Liga on Sunday afternoon, but coach Santiago Solari still has a couple of issues to resolve with his starting XI.

The main question marks hang over midfielder Isco and forward Marco Asensio, both of whom scored in the 6-1 Copa del Rey win at home to Melilla in midweek, reports Xinhua.

Isco scored two excellent goals in what was his first start since Solari replaced Julen Lopetegui as coach, while Asensio also bagged a brace to push his claim for a place in the starting 11.

With Gareth Bale struggling for form, Solari may be tempted to start Asensio in what is Real Madrid’s penultimate league game before they fly off for the World Club Cup.

Elsewhere, Marcos Llorente looks set to continue in midfield, while Thibaut Courtois returns in goal in place of Keylor Navas, who was given a rare outing in the Copa del Rey.

Rumors in the Spanish media suggest that Navas is unhappy at having lost his place in the side, and will push for a transfer either in January or at the end of the current season.

Meanwhile, Huesca are finding life tough in their first ever season in Spain’s top flight, and have so far failed to win at home.

They have just seven points from 14 matches, with four of those coming in the adrenaline rush of their first two matches of the season. Since then, however, reality has hit home, and their defense has been especially porous, conceding 29 goals and failing to keep a clean sheet in any of this season’s matches.

Huesca’s problems were highlighted in midweek when Athletic Bilbao, who are themselves having a poor season, put four past them in the El Alcoraz Stadium to knock them out of the Copa del Rey 8-0 on aggregate, and anything like a repeat performance on Sunday would see Madrid travel back to the capital with three easy points.

–IANS
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Declaration of poll schedule to expedite candidate selection, alliances

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New Delhi, March 10 (IANS) With the Election Commission announcing the Lok Sabha poll schedule on Sunday, political parties are expected to expedite the process of candidate selection as also that of forming alliances in the next few days.

While the Congress has come with its first list of 15 candidates that includes names of party chief Rahul Gandhi and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the Bharatiya Janata Party is yet to come up with its first list, which is expected this week.

The opposition parties in Bihar have not yet announced their grand alliance in the state. There has also been no formal announcement of a tie-up in Jammu and Kashmir as also in West Bengal.

In Delhi, though the ruling Aam Aadmi Party has declared its candidates on most of the seats and Congress has declared its intentions to fight separately, there is still speculation of the possibility of the two parties coming together.

The notification for the first phase of Lok Sabha polls will be made on March 18 and the last date of filing nominations is March 25. The polling of the first phase for 91 seats across 20 states will be held on April 11, almost a month from now.

The political parties are expected to draw out a detailed schedule of campaigning by their top leaders over the next few days as also give final touches to their manifestos.

–IANS
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