Marcelo is an institution - Eusebio denies targeting Real Madrid left-back

Sergio Ramos Real Madrid

Marcelo is an institution - Eusebio denies targeting Real Madrid left-back

Santiago Solari described Sergio Ramos' latest red card as an "occupational hazard" after the Real Madrid captain was sent-off in their home LaLiga loss to Girona.

Santiago Solari's side led at the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday thanks to a first-half Casemiro header, with Madrid hunting a sixth consecutive league win to exert pressure on leaders Barcelona.

Provided that UEFA decide not to take action against him over allegations that it was deliberate and therefore unsportsmanlike conduct, he will arrive at the Champions League quarter-finals risk free, should Madrid see out their first leg lead over Ajax.

Real, who started the weekend in second place in the table, are now third, nine points behind leaders Barcelona, who won 1-0 against Real Valladolid on Saturday.

Girona quite clearly targeted Marcelo in the second half and it was Portu who made the most of that weakness.

Alex Granell was able to get a shot away from distance with five minutes of the first half remaining, but the midfielder's low effort went marginally wide of Courtois's post.

"It's really important for us to win at the Bernabeu - for our fans, for our team", said Girona coach Eusebio.

Ramos has now been sent-off 20 times in LaLiga, more than any other player in the history of the competition, but Solari would not criticise his skipper.

Real skipper Ramos was making his 601st appearance for the club - moving him to joint fifth on the all-time list - but marked the occasion with an unwanted card. We lacked that brightness and energy in attack.

"Attrition is not only physical, it is mental, of concentration. there are many factors".

Atletico Madrid are now second, two points clear of city rivals Real, following their 1-0 victory over Rayo Vallecano. We've been on a good run and today we did not do the same things.

Maybe they were thinking they would get a second goal, but we were slowly getting back into it and getting more confident.

"It's a hard time because we were in a very good dynamic and this puts the brakes on", he told reporters.

He admitted after the game that the card had been premeditated, saying: 'Yes, the truth is that seeing the result... it's something I had in mind'.

"It's a very happy day, we have won the prize for the work that is done every day".

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