Friday, June 22, 2018

La Liga Preview: Pressure on for Euro spots

SoccerNews in La Liga 24 May 2013


With the title well and truly decided in La Liga and two matchdays to play, all eyes are on the European race and the relegation battle.

Starting at the top, Real Sociedad have it all to do them to sustain fourth position and the UEFA Champions League qualifying position as they prepare to host Real Madrid.

Sociedad are fourth, level on points with fifth-placed Valencia and need to win to guarantee their spot as front-runners for the European play-off place

Valencia, meanwhile, are at home to 15th-placed Granada, who are yet to sew up their top-flight position for 2013-14.

Ernesto Valverde’s men should still do it comfortably, though, as Granada’s La Liga status can be guaranteed by losses to either Deportivo La Coruna or Real Zaragoza on Sunday.

Deportivo are on the road at Malaga, with the latter still hoping to secure UEFA Europa League qualification for next term.

Manuel Pellegrini’s side will be hoping to welcome their new manager with a place in European competition, after it was announced Pellegrini would not coach there next term.

Malaga (54 points) are two points clear in sixth, with Real Betis (52) and Rayo Vallecano (49) still in the hunt for a slice of continental action.

Betis host relegation-threatened Zaragoza – with both clubs needing wins to boost their hopes of playing in the UEFA Europa League and La Liga respectively next term.

Vallecano are all but out of the top-six race, but should Malaga slip up, they can stay alive by beating Getafe on the road.

Getafe are 10th after losing five of their past six to fall out of European contention.

Champions Barcelona visit Espanyol, who have not won in four and the Catalans can reach the magical 100-point mark with wins in their final two matches.

Osasuna could yet be relegated as they sit just two points above the drop ahead of their match with ninth-placed Sevilla.

Real Valladolid can relegate struggling Celta de Vigo should the latter fail to win, while a similar fate awaits Mallorca if they do not manage get a result on the road at third-placed Atletico Madrid.

Finally, Athletic Bilbao can extend their five-game unbeaten run at home to Levante, who have not won in seven.


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