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Bale out of Real Madrid Cup quarter-final

Posted Jan 27, 2014 by AFP
Welsh winger Gareth Bale will sit out Real Madrid's Copa del Rey quarter-final, second leg against Espanyol on Tuesday after failing to recover from a calf strain he picked up in Saturday's 2-0 win over Granada.
Gareth Bale (left) outpaces Granada's Pape Diakhate during a Spanish league game at the Santiag...
Gareth Bale (left) outpaces Granada's Pape Diakhate during a Spanish league game at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on January 25, 2014
Dani Pozo, AFP

Welsh winger Gareth Bale will sit out Real Madrid's Copa del Rey quarter-final, second leg against Espanyol on Tuesday after failing to recover from a calf strain he picked up in Saturday's 2-0 win over Granada.

Bale had been on the end of a heavy challenge from Jeison Murillo early on, but soldiered on until half-time when he was replaced by Jese Rodriguez.

The 24-year-old began a training session with his teammates on Monday, but quickly returned to the dressing room and coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed he would not be risked with a tough encounter away to Athletic Bilbao to come on Sunday.

"Bale tried to train but felt a little niggle in his left leg. We would rather he recovered and he won't play tomorrow. He will train this week to try to be ready for Sunday," Ancelotti told a press conference.

Gareth Bale (left) clashes with Espanyol's Victor Sanchez (right) during the Spanish Copa del R...
Gareth Bale (left) clashes with Espanyol's Victor Sanchez (right) during the Spanish Copa del Rey quarter-final first-leg at the Cornella-El Prat stadium in Cornella de Llobregat on January 21, 2014
Josep Lago, AFP

Madrid are clear favourites to reach the semi-finals as they take a 1-0 lead into the game at the Santiago Bernabeu from last week's first leg.

Ancelotti's men have had a perfect start to 2014 as they have yet to concede a goal this year and are on a nine-game winning streak.

However, he insisted he is not taking anything for granted and will name his strongest possible starting line-up for the visit of the Catalans.

"We have a small advantage, but the tie is still open. We need to prepare and play well with the best possible team, to make it to the semi-finals.

"We have to finish off a great January with a good performance against Espanyol."