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Floodlight ‘sabotage’ postpones Real match

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MADRID, Spain, September 24- Real Madrid’s La Liga match at Rayo Vallecano was postponed on Sunday after the floodlights failed amid reports of electrical cables being sabotaged.

Rayo’s president Raul Martin Presa indicated he had reason to believe power cables had been cut.

“Vandals have cut cables, we have tried to solve the problem as quickly as possible but told the stewards not to open the doors of the stadium. We will leave it to the police to find out who is responsible,” said Presa.

The club confirmed as much in a statement.

“The match has been postponed for sabotage in the electrical system,” the statement read.

There promptly followed a debate on when the match would eventually take place with Real wanting a late afternoon start on Monday but their hosts preferring an evening start.

“The date and kickoff time are to be confirmed,” said Rayo.

Real Madrid’s director of football, Miguel Pardeza, said: “We would prefer to have the match at 5pm as there is no guarantee that it will be repaired by 8pm and we have an already tight calendar. This is what our coach (Jose Mourinho) wants and although this isn’t an ideal situation for anyone we prefer to play at 5pm.”

But Rayo said they wanted an evening start out of “respect” for their fans — many of whom would still be at work in the event of an afternoon start.

Spanish television reported the match was likely to be rescheduled for 1800 GMT on Monday evening.

Fans were not allowed into the Estadio de Vallecas ground for security reasons Sunday for a match which had been due to start at 9.30pm local time (1930 GMT).

Real were desperate for a win in the match having made a dismal start to the season to languish 11 points behind leaders Barcelona after just one win in four games.

Local politician Cristina Cifuentes said an investigation will be opened to discover the full reason why the floodlights failed at the Vallecano ground in the south-eastern suburbs of Madrid.

“We cannot jump to conclusions but we need to find the culprits if indeed this was a case of sabotage. Hopefully, we can now find a solution to have the match on Monday,” she said.

The president of the Madrid football federation Vicente Temprado was worried about the damage the incident will have on the image of the Spanish game.

“This is very negative for football in our country that a game which was to be beamed around the world has not gone ahead — whether it is due to sabotage and a lack of security or not,” he said.

Sources from television channel Canal Plus say cables were cut and the floodlight failure was not due to heavy rain in the area.

Meanwhile, Malaga maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they hung on for a 0-0 draw against a much improved Athletic Bilbao, who dominated the encounter.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side have started the season brightly with three wins but were pegged back by an Athletic side who produced some of their best football of the campaign so far but they crucially lacked an end product.

Mallorca and Atletico Madrid maintained their strong starts with 2-0 and and 2-1 victories over Valencia and Valladolid respectively, while Levante beat Real Sociedad 2-1.

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