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Real’s trip to Celta off after stadium damage

Madrid (AFP) – La Liga leaders Real Madrid’s visit to Celta Vigo scheduled for Sunday has been postponed after strong winds and heavy rain caused structural damage to Celta’s Balaidos stadium, the Spanish league confirmed.

Earlier on Saturday, the mayor of Vigo stated the stadium wasn’t in a safe condition to host the game, but both clubs and the league waited on a security report before a final decision was made.

“According to the report from the Vigo town hall, this organisation believes the Balaidos stadium will not be secure for players and fans to attend the match tomorrow Sunday, February 5, 2017, for Week 21 of La Liga Santander between Celta Vigo and Real Madrid,” La Liga said in a statement.

“La Liga will propose possible dates to dispute said match listening to the opinion of the clubs and television operators, so that the president of the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) can decide to fix a date for a postponed match.”

Celta’s Galician rivals Deportivo la Coruna saw their clash with Real Betis on Friday also postponed due to weather damage to Deportivo’s Riazor ground.

“Firemen, the town hall and Celta’s security staff looked at the conditions and (the game) can’t go ahead,” Vigo mayor, Abel Caballero, told Spanish radio station La SER.

“The game will be played at another time, in better conditions, because we can’t guarantee the safety of the people that go there.” 

The news could prove a big blow to Real’s title hopes as Celta were set to rest a host of first-team players with the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final against Alaves to come on Wednesday. The tie is finely balanced at 0-0.

Madrid hold a one-point lead over title rivals Barcelona but now have two games in hand.

Zinedine Zidane’s men face a packed fixture schedule in the next few months with a return to Champions League action also to come against Napoli on February 15.

Due to Madrid’s Champions League campaign and Celta’s involvement in the Copa del Rey and Europa League, a date for any rearranged fixture could be put back until May.

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