Free-scoring Real face tough test at Sevilla


BARCELONA (Reuters) - Real Madrid have defied injuries to keep the pressure on leaders Barcelona and notched up over 100 La Liga goals but they now face arguably the toughest test of their title charge in an away match to Sevilla on Saturday.

While Barca's attacking trident have hit a club record 102 goals between them in all competitions, Real have outscored them as a team in La Liga with 102 goals, five more than their Catalan rivals.

Victory for Barca in El Clasico last month put them on track for their fifth league title in seven years, opening up a four-point gap but since then Real have doggedly won all their six games and Barca stalled away to Sevilla drawing 2-2.

Real have shown the depth of their squad lately as they have been able to overcome the significant losses of Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema to injuries.

Javier Hernandez, in particular, has demonstrated his value to the team and hit a double in last weekend's 4-2 victory over Celta Vigo.

The return of James Rodriguez at the beginning of April after a lengthy injury layoff has also reinvigorated the midfield and he got the breakthrough as Real went on to beat Almeria 3-0 at home on Wednesday.

"I am very happy for James as he scored a great goal and for Chicharito (Hernandez's nickname) also," Real defender Pepe told reporters.

"All the players in the squad have the level to play and we are showing it now. We have a squad with a lot of quality.

"Some of the team have not been available but others have come in and the important thing is to keep pushing forward."

Meanwhile, Barca, who now face bottom side Cordoba on Saturday, continue to be propelled by Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Their total, following the 6-0 demolition of Getafe on Tuesday, is now two more than the previous best tally achieved by Messi, Samuel Eto'o and Thierry Henry when they won the treble in 2009.

"Each year I would like to be in this situation with the chance to win trophies," Andres Iniesta told reporters.

"We are in a good position and the team is playing well but we know there is still a difficult part ahead to actually claim the titles."

(Editing by Sudipto Ganguly)

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