Madrid, May 13 (IANS) FC Barcelona and Real Madrid face vital matches as the race for the La Liga football title goes into the final straight. League leaders Barcelona, who have played one more game than Madrid, know the destiny of the title is not in their hands, but that they have to win their two remaining matches and hope that Real Madrid slip up.

Luis Enrique’s Barcelona face a Las Palmas side that appears to be in freefall since coach Quique Setien announced two months ago he was leaving at the end of the season, reports Xinhua news agency.

Since then Las Palmas have won just one game and suffered defeats to sides such as Sporting Gijon and Leganes, while conceding five goals against both Atletico Madrid and Athletic Club Bilbao.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique is a doubt for the trip to the Canary Islands, while Aleix Vidal is a long-term absentee in what is Enrique’s penultimate league match in charge.

“We have important absences in defence, but it will be a good challenge to see how we adapt to the situation,” Enrique said, according to Barcelona’s Twitter handle.

“It will be a difficult game. They will demand a lot from us, we will need to have a great game.”

Real Madrid are at home against Sevilla in a game that kicks off at the same time as Barcelona’s game and go into the game after qualifying for the Champions League final on Wednesday night.

They also know that seven points from their last three matches will assure them the title. Real head coach Zinedine Zidane will have to consider whether to field his strongest 11 or to rest footballers who played in midweek, especially as his side has to play away to Celta Vigo in another potentially decisive match on Wednesday night.

“We have been consistent this season and our goals are within reach. We want to keep working hard, the toughest test is still to come,” Zidane said.

“The details matter in football. Until now we’ve been phenomenal. We’re in the Champions League final and we’re doing well in La Liga, we haven’t won anything just yet. We’re doing well physically and mentally. It will not affect us playing hard games till the end. We’re playing tomorrow and again on Wednesday and there will be changes.”

Veteran defender Pepe will probably return to the side for what looks as if it will be his last home match for Real Madrid given that he has not signed a new contract with the capital club, while Nacho Fernandez could play at right back to cover for the injured Dani Carvajal.

Meanwhile forward Gareth Bale remains injured and as he watches from the sidelines the Welshman will possibly reflect on how his injury has coincided with Zidane finding a new formation which has allowed his side to enjoy more midfield control over their rivals.

Sevilla meanwhile appear destined to finish fourth in the table after running out of steam in recent weeks and with midfielder Pablo Sarabia out through suspension.


    The IANS was founded by Indian American publisher Gopal Raju as the India Abroad News Service. It was later renamed the Indo-Asian News Service.

    Related Posts

    Volgograd hotel jacks prices 20 times for World Cup

    Volgograd, Dec 16: Russias consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor has initiated an administrative case in regard to a hotel in Volgograd for inflating prices by over...

    Bravo doubtful of return to Windies team

    Sharjah, Dec 16: West Windies all-rounder Dwayne Bravo has expressed doubts on his possible return to national colours in any format. Bravo, who last represented the...

    Ranji Trophy: Karnataka favourites against Vidarbha

    Kolkata, Dec 16: Eight-time champions Karnataka will be hot favourites against Vidarbha who are still not sure of the services of India speedster Umesh Yadav...

    Knee injury forces Sania to miss Australian Open

    Kolkata, Dec 16: Indian tennis star Sania Mirza said on Saturday that she will not be taking part in the Australian Open early next year...

    Man Utd still in title race: Matic

    Manchester, Dec 16: Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic said on Saturday that Manchester United are not out of the race for the English Premier League (EPL)...