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Unified kick off times assure drama on penultimate weekend of Spanish season

Xinhua, May 11, 2017 Adjust font size:

This Sunday sees the penultimate round of matches in the Spanish Liga Santander with the title, relegation and the battle to qualify for Europe all still to be decided.

The Spanish Football League (LaLiga) has programed every match with something at stake for 8pm local time on Sunday, with just the games between Osasuna and Granada, Espanyol and Valencia and Alaves and Celta to be played at different times.

Real Madrid, fresh from their qualification for the Champions League final, entertain a Sevilla team that has lost form of late, but who need to win in order to have any chance of overtaking Atletico Madrid and finishing third in the table.

Real should have a full squad available except for the injured Gareth Bale and Dani Carvajal and a win would leave them just a win and a draw away from assuring the title.

Sevilla meanwhile travel knowing that if Atletico Madrid take a point from their visit to Betis, who sacked coach Victor Sanchez del Amo during the week, there is nothing they can do to prevent Diego Simeone's side compensating their failure to reach the Champions League final by assuring a place directly in the group stage of next season's competition.

Atletico will be without the suspended Diego Godin for the trip to Seville.

Barcelona know they have to keep on winning and hope that Real Madrid suffer a shock defeat between now and the end of the season. Luis Enrique's side travel to Las Palmas where the home side have fallen apart in the two months following Quique Setien's announcement he was leaving at the end of the campaign.

Las Palmas have lost four of their last five games and conceded 15 goals into the bargain, including a recent 5-0 thrashing at home to Atletico Madrid, so Messi and company will be confident of taking the title race into the last weekend.

The fight to finish in 5th and 6th place to assure direct qualification for the Europa League involves three clubs separated by just two points, with fifth placed Villarreal at home to Deportivo la Coruna, who have slipped to fourth from bottom following a poor run of results.

A point for Deportivo would be enough to assure their survival for another season, the same as for Leganes, who travel to face sixth placed Athletic Club Bilbao.

Leganes will be unable to field Iago Hererin and Unai Lopez, who are both on loan from Athletic, who may field Gorka Iraizoz in goal for his last appearance at the club where he has spent the past 10 years.

Seventh place Real Sociedad meanwhile entertain Malaga, who have been in good form of late, but who travel to San Sebastian with nothing other than pride at stake.

The final match of the day sees Sporting Gijon travel to Eibar knowing they need to win and for Deportivo and Leganes to both lose if they are to take their struggle to avoid the drop into the final day of the season.

With Eibar a side that never gives anything away, Sunday could see the relegation issue at least resolved for another season. Endit