Football: Real win to extend lead in Spain; but will lose Rodriguez and Ramos to injuries

Real Madrid's James Rodriguez scores against Sevilla during their Spanish first division soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Feb 4, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Real Madrid's James Rodriguez scores against Sevilla during their Spanish first division soccer match at Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid on Feb 4, 2015. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MADRID (AFP) - Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos will miss the Saturday's Madrid derby against La Liga champions Atletico after suffering injuries in his side's 2-1 win over Sevilla on Wednesday.

Ramos limped off with a hamstring problem after only eight minutes, while Rodriguez suffered an injury in his right foot after scoring the opening goal.

Ancelotti is short of defensive options with Portuguese international centre-back Pepe also currently sidelined due to a rib injury.

However, the Italian insisted he is confident that youngsters Raphael Varane and Nacho can handle the challenge posed by Diego Simeone's men.

He said: "Sergio had a hamstring problem, we need to wait a few days to evaluate it. James had a problem in his right foot, I don't know exactly what but it is sure that they won't be available.

"I have confidence in the others. Nacho and (Raphael) Varane did very well, I have a lot of confidence in them. What we lose above all is experience, but sometimes enthusiasm is a good thing."

Left-back Marcelo is also set to miss the game after picking up his fifth booking of the season, but Ancelotti said the club will appeal that decision in the hope he will be cleared to play.

Jese's first La Liga goal since suffering a cruciate ligament injury last March put Madrid 2-0 up at half-time. And they withstood a late Sevilla rally in the final 10 minutes after Iago Aspas had pulled a goal back. Victory took the European champions four points clear of Barcelona at the top of the table and seven ahead of Atletico in third.

Despite their key absentees, Real will receive a massive boost with the return of Cristiano Ronaldo from a two-game ban.

"It is important to have Cristiano back. Without him we have won two games, but it is sure that he will help us in the derby," said the coach.

Real have not managed to beat Atletico in any of their five previous meetings this season and Ancelotti said that was greater motivation than the chance to all but end Los Rojiblancos title defence.

"I think it is important because the last games against Atletico weren't good, so we have to change this bad run," he said. "It will be a very difficult game, but we want to do something different. The motivation is so big for this game being a Madrid derby we don't need the motivation of leaving Atletico 10 points behind."