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HALF TIME: Only goals are missing at Vallecas

Real Madrid are looking to maintain their six-point lead at the top of LaLiga Santander when they make the short trip to Vallecas to face Rayo Vallecano on Saturday (18:30 CET). Three straight league defeats for the hosts means they now linger in 11th place, while Los Blancos have won two of their last three. Stay with us for all the build-up to Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid and then updates from the match itself.

Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid LIVE SCORE: 0-0

This is the start of our Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid live blog, with updates from this LaLiga Santander fixture following on from here. As always, the entries nearest the top are the most recent ones.

Half time: Still even at the break

Peep peep! That's the half time whistle and it's still goalless between Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid. Casemiro had the ball in the net, but it was ruled out and Real Madrid still have work to do.

Minute 45+1: Zidane denies Benzema!

Benzema has a great chance to give Real Madrid the lead just before the break, but Luca Zidane comes up with a great point-blank save. That was surely the final chance of the half.

Minute 40: VAR rules out a Casemiro goal

Casemiro looks to have given Real Madrid the lead, but VAR intervenes to rule it out. It could have been disallowed for offside, a foul or handball. Whatever the reason, it's not counting.

Minute 38: Real Madrid's deflected effort drops just wide

That was close! A Karim Benzema shot takes a touch off Alejandro Catena and the spinning ball drops just past Luca Zidane's far post. It almost sneaks in.

Minute 37: Vinicius almost finds Asensio

Vinicius gets forward and inside the Rayo Vallecano penalty area. As he looks up, he spots Asensio and looks for the Mallorcan, but the pass is cut out just in time.

Minute 33: Rayo are getting better on the counter

Rayo Vallecano are having more and more sights of Courtois' goal. They're launching better counters and are also starting to rob the ball back off their opponents higher up the pitch.

Minute 30: Off the line from Benzema... but he was offside

Karim Benzema manages to use his strength and nudge an effort towards goal, one which is cleared off the line, but he was offside anyway. It wouldn't have countered.

Minute 23: Another chance for Asensio

Asensio comes close once again and he is once again denied by Luca Zidane, who stretches to push the attempt round the post and out for a corner, which ultimately comes to nothing.

Minute 16: Chances for Guardiola

Sergi Guardiola looks lively, first trying to catch out Courtois from distance and then directing a header on goal that the Belgian initially spills, before managing to gather up inside his six-yard box.

Minute 9: Wide from Vinicius

Vinicius is looking to get back among the goals and he tries his luck early on in Vallecas, cutting inside and shooting from distance. But, the attempt is off target.

Minute 5: Zidane saves from Asensio again

Luca Zidane and Marco Asensio have been the busiest two players so far. This time the winger shoots from outside the area and sees his attempt caught by the Rayo goalkeeper.

Minute 2: A chance already for Asensio

Luca Zidane gets the start against his former club and he is called into action early on, as Marco Asensio gets off an early shot. But, Zidane does well to block.

Minute 1: Kick off!

Here we go then! The ball is rolling in Vallecas and we're underway in Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid. Follow along with us on this LaLiga Santander live blog.

17:05 GMT: An unfamiliar referee for Real Madrid

Isidro Diaz de Mera Escuderos is the referee for this Saturday's match between Rayo Vallecano and Real Madrid. He is a fairly new referee in Spain's top flight and this will be just his third time whistling a Real Madrid game.

16:35 GMT: Rayo Vallecano's line-up is out too

Rayo Vallecano have now released their starting XI too and they're setting out with: Luca Zidane; Ivan Balliu, Alejandro Catena, Mario Suarez, Fran Garcia; Santi Comesana, Oscar Valentin; Bebe, Oscar Trejo, Alvaro Garcia; Sergi Guardiola.

16:20 GMT: The stage is set in Vallecas

The stadium in Vallecas is ready for this Rayo Vallecano vs Real Madrid game. It's a cloudy day in Madrid, but perfect conditions for playing football. There's just over an hour to go until kick off.

15:55 GMT: Real Madrid's shortest trip of the season

Rayo Vallecano are actually based even closer to the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu than Real Madrid's main rivals Atletico Madrid. The distance between the stadium in Vallecas and the Bernabeu is 7.2km and the distance between the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano and the Bernabeu is 7.7km, making this their shortest trip of the season.

15:30 GMT: Real Madrid's starting XI is confirmed already

Two hours before kick off, Real Madrid have already announced their starting line-up. They're going for: Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Eder Militao, Nacho, Ferland Mendy; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema, Vinicius.

14:00 GMT: Lunin misses out due to personal reasons

Real Madrid reserve goalkeeper Andriy Lunin will miss Saturday's game against Rayo, and it is believed to do be due to the ongoing crisis in his native Ukraine.

Lunin made an appeal on social media on Saturday for citizens of Madrid to donate money and essential items that will be sent to Ukraine.

Rayo Vallecano's predicted line-up

Rayo Vallecano are still without the injured Martin Merquelanz and still have a doubt over Unai Lopez, but they have welcomed some players back from injury ahead of this game.

Rayo Vallecano predicted line-up: Luca Zidane; Ivan Balliu, Esteban Saveljich, Alejandro Catena, Fran Garcia; Santi Comesana, Oscar Valentin; Isi Palazon, Oscar Trejo, Alvaro Garcia; Sergi Guardiola.

Real Madrid's predicted line-up

Gareth Bale will be absent through a muscular problem and David Alaba is out injured too.

Real Madrid predicted line-up: Thibaut Courtois; Dani Carvajal, Nacho, Eder Militao, Ferland Mendy; Luka Modric, Casemiro, Toni Kroos; Marco Asensio, Karim Benzema, Vinicius.

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