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Bale out of Real Madrid Cup QF

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

MADRID - 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.

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."

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