Injury cost for Real Madrid after Betis win

Madrid, April 21 (IANS) Real Madrid’s 3-0 home win against Betis has seen the team pay a heavy price in terms of injuries ahead of their vital Champions League semifinal away to Borussia Dortmund this coming Wednesday.

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho rested some key players such as Gonzalo Higuain and Xabi Alonso for the game Saturday along with central defenders Pepe and Sergio Ramos but will have looked on with frustration when left back Marcelo was carried out of the game after less than 15 minutes, reports Xinhua.

The Brazilian, who was captain for the game, fell badly when challenging Betis winger Joel Campbell and left the field on a stretcher to be replaced by young central defender Rafael Varene, another player Mourinho had been looking to rest.

Post-match tests confirmed Marcelo has a torn muscle in his left leg and he will be unavailable for the first leg of the Champions League semifinal and almost certainly for the return leg the following week. It is unfortunate for the defender, who has already missed three months of the season as the result of a broken bone in his foot.

The injury is given extra significance given that Fabio Coentrao, who has been first choice at left back in recent weeks, missed Saturday’s game with muscle problems of his own and Mourinho may be forced to play either Sergio Ramos or B-team captain Nacho Gonzalez, who played Saturday, against Borussia.

Meanwhile, Luka Modric will also miss the trip to Dortmund after pulling up midway through the second half Saturday with a hamstring problem. The Croatian left the pitch and was replaced by Pepe, who provided midfield cover, and must also be considered doubtful for the return leg, which is played April 30, leaving Madrid’s assistant coach Aitor Karanka, who again spoke instead of Mourinho, to lament the losses.

“Marcelo was in a lot of pain and although we thought it was just a strain for Modric, it now appears as if it is more serious. It is the worst news of the game,” he admitted.

Things could have been worse for Madrid as striker Karim Benzema appeared to twist his ankle during the match while Diego Lopez also struggled with a hip problem. However, Karanka insisted that neither player was suffering from anything serious and said they would have no problems being fit for Wednesday night.

Elsewhere, Rayo Vallecano striker Leo Baptistao has had an operation on the shoulder injury he suffered during his side’s 1-1 draw in Mallorca Friday night and will miss the rest of the season.

The young Brazilian is rumoured to be on his way to Atletico Madrid over the summer and consequently could have played his last game for Rayo.

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