La Liga set for frenzied Sunday finale

SaturdaySociedad     vs     Valencia    20:00Betis         vs     Barcelona    22:00 SundayLevante     vs     Athletic        20:00
Atletico Madrid players celebrate Falcao's second goal in the Europa League final against Athltico Bilbao. Atletico is one of three clubs eyeing fourth place in La Liga. Net photo.
Atletico Madrid players celebrate Falcao's second goal in the Europa League final against Athltico Bilbao. Atletico is one of three clubs eyeing fourth place in La Liga. Net photo.

Saturday
Sociedad     vs     Valencia    20:00
Betis         vs     Barcelona    22:00
Sunday
Levante     vs     Athletic        20:00
Villarreal     vs     Atlético
Real Madrid     vs     Mallorca
Racing     vs     Osasuna
Getafe         vs     Zaragoza
Espanyol     vs     Sevilla
Málaga     vs     Sporting
Rayo         vs     Granada

MADRID – A Champions League spot, two Europa League berths and two relegation places are to be claimed or avoided in what promises to be a nerve-wracking finale to the La Liga season on Sunday.

Atletico Madrid, who beat Athletic Bilbao 3-0 to win the Europa League final on Wednesday, are eying a bigger prize for next season as they battle Malaga and Levante for Spain’s fourth and final Champions League place.

A clutch of teams could make it into Europe’s second-tier club competition and five teams are scrabbling to avoid joining already relegated Racing Santander in the second division.

The eight matches which affect these positions all kick off at the same time on Sunday.

Champions Real Madrid will parade the trophy at the Bernabeu when they take on sixth-placed Real Mallorca.

A victory would give Jose Mourinho’s men a new La Liga record 100 points, beating by one the mark set by Barcelona in 2010, and would add to their league goal-scoring record which sits at 117 with one left to play.

Deposed champions Barca play the last league game of Pep Guardiola’s tenure at Real Betis on Saturday, when Lionel Messi has the chance to build on his La Liga record tally of 50 goals.

Malaga fans more used to enduring final-day relegation battles will be in the unaccustomed position of cheering their side on to a possible first venture into the Champions League next year.

RELEGATION DESPAIR

The Qatar-owned club are in pole position to secure Spain’s last remaining ticket into Europe’s elite club competition, and some pay back on the millions invested in the club since it was bought two years ago.

The Romareda may still get to witness the despair of a team suffering relegation, however, because the only way visiting Sporting Gijon, who are 19th, can survive, is by winning.

“Possibly, this week is one of the most important in the club’s history,” Malaga’s Portuguese midfielder Duda told reporters.

“It will be an emotional game, but with different emotions to those of other years where we have been playing to avoid relegation.”

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