Higuain, Khedira out of Real Madrid's Champions League clash with Ajax

08:01, November 23, 2010      

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Real Madrid will try to assure top place in their Champions League qualifying group without central midfielder Sami Khedira and striker Gonzalo Higuain.

The pair suffered physical problems during Saturday night's win over Athletic Club Bilbao and will not travel to Amsterdam to face the Dutch side that Madrid beat 2-0 in the Santiago Bernabeu earlier in the season.

Higuain is suffering from an attack of lumbago and will be rested for the game, while Khedira suffered a hamstring injury.

With a key BBVA Primera Liga game away to FC Barcelona next Monday, Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho has opted to not risk either of the pair, who are vital in his plans.

The absence of Khedira and Higuain will give a chance to French duo Lassana Diarra and Karim Benzema to stake their respective claims for a place in the first team.

Diarra replaced Khedira when he suffered his muscle problem on Saturday, while Benzema has been the natural replacement for Higuain all season.

The French striker began the season looking short of both form and confidence, but has improved of late. He helped set up goals against Hercules and Sporting Gijon earlier this month and confirmed his improvement with France's opening goal against England at Wembley last Wednesday.

Real Madrid is currently top of Group G of the Champions league, five points ahead of AC Milan and six ahead of Ajax and need a win in the Amsterdam Arena to assure they finish top of the group and earn a theoretically easier rival in the knockout stage of the competition.

Source: Xinhua


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