Brief news from La Liga ahead of
the final round of matches this weekend:
Barcelona will be without injured Chile striker Alexis
Sanchez (thigh) and reserve keeper Jose Manuel Pinto (ankle) for
their trip to play Real Betis on Saturday, though both
are expected to be fit for the King's Cup final on May 25.
Spain striker David Villa, close to a return to action since
breaking his leg in December, did not make the squad for the
last league outing of the season.
"He is doing very well, within the scheduled time-frames,"
coach Pep Guardiola said on Friday. "But the doctors are better
placed to talk about when he might return to play again."
Fourth-placed Malaga can assure themselves of Spain's last
Champions League qualification berth with a win at home to
relegation-threatened Sporting Gijon, 19th, on Sunday.
Malaga are two points clear of fifth-placed Atletico Madrid.
The newly-crowned Europa League champions could overhaul
them with a victory at struggling Villarreal, as they also hold
the edge in the head-to-head results between the sides should
they finish level on 56 points.
Seventh-placed Levante, on 52 points, have an outside shot
at the Champions League if they can overcome Europa League
finalists Athletic Bilbao at home on Sunday.
The tiny, Valencia-based club, three points adrift of
fourth, have to win and hope Malaga and Atletico lose. They also
have the head-to-head advantage over Malaga.
Sixth-placed Real Mallorca, also on 52 points, play at
Champions Real Madrid on Sunday and they, along with
eighth-placed Osasuna (51), who visit already-relegated Racing
Santander, are in the running for the Europa League berths.
Real Zaragoza, 18th, came out of administration on
Thursday with media reporting their debts were now just below
100 million euros, and can secure their top-flight status with a
victory at Getafe on Sunday.
"[The team] cannot only play with their hearts, because they
could end up losing their heads," coach Manolo Jimenez said.
"The team are in good physical and tactical shape but need the
composure to make the most of all this in the last game."
Rayo Vallecano were outside contenders for a place in
Europe two months ago, but have lost nine of their last 10 games
and battle to avoid a swift return to the second division at
home to fellow strugglers Granada on Sunday.
"It will be difficult for us to think of it as just another
game," Rayo forward Emiliano Armenteros said. "The two teams
will be a little anxious. We will looking for the win and try to
make as few mistakes as possible."
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