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FIREWORKS EXPECTED AS LALIGA SANTANDER LEADERS BARCELONA CONTINUE MARCH TOWARDS THE TITLE

LaLiga
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830   //    18 Apr 2019, 17:02 IST

FC Barcelona would look to tighten their grip on the La Liga
FC Barcelona would look to tighten their grip on the La Liga

Barcelona host Real Sociedad, with the fixture list also throwing up exciting head to heads in the race for fourth spot and six pointers down near the bottom.

Lionel Messi and company have drawn two of their last three LaLiga fixtures as they also manage Champions League exertions but will be confident of a fifth straight home win against a ‘La Real’ side who have not won at the Camp Nou in LaLiga since 1991.

The weekend programme begins at Mendizorrotza with Europa League qualification chasers D. Alaves hosting a Real Valladolid side who have played well lately but need their luck to change as they remain in the bottom three.

Then a real relegation six-pointer at Balaidos where 17th placed RC Celta will be aiming for a third straight home victory against Girona, who are now just two points above their opponents following four LaLiga defeats on the bounce.

The action then switches to Eibar’s Ipurua stadium where the Basque team are sitting pretty having already reached the 40-point mark ahead of the visit of second placed Atletico de Madrid, who have Antoine Griezmann in match-winning form as they keep Barça honest in the title race.

A huge game at the bottom is 20th placed Huesca hosting Rayo Vallecano in 19th at El Alcoraz. Both teams know that realistically the loser in this game can prepare for LaLiga 1l2l3 next year, while a winner would hope to ride the momentum to safety over the remaining five games.

Levante are another team anxiously looking over their shoulders due to no wins in their last eight LaLiga outings. But that can change when the visitors to the Ciutat de Valencia stadium are an Espanyol team now free of any relegation worries after six points from six recently.

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Champions League qualification next season is the objective at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Visitors Sevilla are back in fourth spot after last weekend’s derby win against Real Betis, but hosts Getafe are just a point back having won five of the last six at home.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will want a fourth straight home LaLiga victory since his return to the job against an Athletic Club team who know a first victory at the Santiago Bernabeu since 2005 would boost their remaining Europa League hopes.

In-form Villarreal will be aiming to take another step towards safety when they host a Leganes team now safe in mid-table after recent excellent results including Monday’s 1-1 at home to neighbours Real Madrid.

European dreams will also be in the air at the Benito Villamarin later when Betis will aim to bounce back from derby disappointment against a Valencia side buoyed by last week’s 3-1 win over their city neighbours Levante.

Watch LaLiga Santander this weekend on Facebook.

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