Spanish soccer league
Real Sociedad, Valencia resume duel for last Champions League ticket
The Basques, who during the week revealed their coach Philippe Montanier had rejected a contract extension to return to sign Stade Rennes, have the tougher assignment hosting Real Madrid.
Real Sociedad players. Photo: EFE
Real Sociedad and Valencia, in fourth and fifth respectively with 62 points apiece, resume their duel for La Liga's last ticket into Europe's elite club competition.
With a Champions League play-off place, three Europa League berths and the three relegation slots still to be decided, all the La Liga matches kick off at 1800 GMT on Sunday.
The Basques, who during the week revealed their coach Philippe Montanier had rejected a contract extension to return to his home country France with Stade Rennes, have the tougher assignment hosting second-placed Real Madrid.
Real Madrid are in a similar position after club president Florentino Perez said on Monday their coach Jose Mourinho was also to leave at the end of the campaign, by mutual agreement.
Valencia visit lowly Granada, who have pulled away from the foot of the standings with an impressive run of five games unbeaten.
Osasuna in 16th place with 36 points host Sevilla, and Deportivo La Coruna in 17th with 35, who visit Malaga, are looking nervously over their shoulders as the battle to avoid relegation nears its conclusion.
The clubs occupying the bottom three places, Real Zaragoza, one point from safety with 34, Real Mallorca with 32, and basement side Celta Vigo with 29, all play away at Real Betis, King's Cup winners Atletico Madrid and Real Valladolid respectively.
"I think there is more pressure if you are on the edge thinking you might fall in, than being below hoping you can get out," Celta goalkeeper Javi Varas said this week.
"We still have a slender chance... but we have to focus on our game because if we don't win it is all over."