Madrid, May 9 (IANS) La Liga goes into the final straight of the season with the 36th round of games to be played during the week, ahead of the penultimate fixtures next weekend. The 36th round of matches kicks off on Tuesday with three games which could have an effect on the top and bottom of the table.
Real Betis take their declining hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League to Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium in what is an early repeat of the recent Copa del Rey final, which Betis claimed on penalties just over two weeks ago.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side were unlucky to lose 2-1 to Barca on Saturday night with Jordi Alba scoring the winning goal with less than 30 seconds left to play, while Valencia produced a trademark display to draw 0-0 away to Athletic Club Bilbao, without managing a single shot on target from open play.
Hugo Guillamon is suspended for Valencia, while Hugo Duro should return in the attack.
Athletic Club Bilbao’s hopes of playing in Europe next season suffered a setback with that draw against Valencia, but a win in Granada would keep their top-seven or top-six hopes alive.
Coach Marcelino Garcia Toral is likely to start with Unai Vencedor and Alex Berenguer in his side against a rival whose hopes of survival got a massive boost with a 6-2 win in Mallorca on Saturday, reports Xinhua.
Granada are unbeaten since Aitor Karanka (a former Athletic player) took charge and despite the loss of striker Luis Suarez to a muscle injury, the Estadio de Los Carmemes is likely to be bouncing for this vital match for both sides.
Tuesday’s final match sees FC Barcelona at home to Celta Vigo — a win for Barca would go a long way to assuring second place and qualification for next season’s lucrative Super Cup in Saudi Arabia, but a Celta team containing Iago Aspas and who fought back from 0-3 down to draw 3-3 in the first meeting this season can never be ruled out.
Xavi Hernandez will make changes for Barca with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang likely to start, while Ronald Araujo could switch to right back to allow Dani Alves to rest and Ansu Fati will continue his measured return after injury. Meanwhile, Sergino Dest and Gerard Pique are still sidelined through injury.