Barcelona suffer first La Liga defeat

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The Independent Online

Barcelona suffered their first La Liga defeat of the season as they lost 2-1 at Atletico Madrid, but head coach Pep Guardiola refused to be too concerned by the setback.

Barca now lead the standings by just two points, after Real Madrid eased to a 3-0 win at lowly Xerez on Saturday evening.



A calm Guardiola told reporters: “I want to congratulate Atletico for the big game they've had, they have been very well organised and deserved the victory.



“We were not quite right and Atletico played well, although I do not have too much criticism for my team.



“We made scoring chances in the first half, but in the second half just a few and we need to know why.



“We're a team that has always creates many scoring chances in each game. We have been at a good level.



“We're always prepared for a defeat. It's the first of the season, but we can take positives from it.”



Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema could play against former club Lyon on Tuesday night after receiving the all-clear to return to training.



He was ruled out of Saturday's 3-0 La Liga success against Xerez and it was thought he would also miss the trip to France with a groin injury.



However, the big-money summer signing has been included in the 19-man travelling squad to face Claude Puel's side after recovering sufficiently to be considered for the Champions League showdown.



Manuel Pellegrini will definitely be without five first-team players for the last-16 clash. Pepe, Jerzy Dudek, Christoph Metzelder, Guti and Rafael van der Vaart are all missing through injury.



Mallorca boss Gregorio Manzano will be hoping his side can improve on their abysmal record away from their San Moix home this season by claiming victory against Tenerife on Monday night.



The Mallorcans have won all ten of their home league games this term but, with just one win and seven points on their travels, any further progress has become stymied.



Monday's clash could offer Manzano's men the perfect opportunity to turn their wretched away form around as the Canary Islanders have won just once in their past 15 league and cup games.



Mallorca striker Aritz Aduriz said: "We haven't been great away and we are going to try and change that in Tenerife.



"Now we are visiting a series of teams against who, if we can obtain more points than we did in the first half of the season, we can then fight for things that nobody imagined."

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