5 teams fight to avoid relegation in Spanish league
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — With the top spots in the Spanish league almost completely decided, the drama is at the bottom of the standings.
Five teams — Getafe, Granada, Cádiz, Mallorca and Alavés — are all trying to avoid finishing in the 18th and 19th places and joining Levante, already assured of relegation, in the second division next season.
Mallorca and Alavés are currently in the bottom three and need to overhaul rivals over their final two games to stay up.
All the matches with any implications in standings will be played at the same time on Sunday.
Getafe enters the penultimate round in the best position of the desperate bunch. The team that Quique Sánchez Flores helped turn around when he returned for a third stint in charge needs only one point from its remaining two games.
Getafe first faces a tough test at home against a Barcelona team that is still looking to lock up a second-place finish. The league runners-up earn a berth in the Spanish Super Cup.
Granada, which has won two straight under new coach Aitor Karanka, is four points clear of the drop before it visits Real Betis.
Cádiz is only two points from danger. It hosts champion Real Madrid on Sunday and then will play Alavés in the final round in what could be a winner-take-all showdown.
“I hope Real Madrid plays well but that Cádiz plays even better, and that we have the eye of the tiger, go for the match and try to win it,” Cádiz coach Sergio González said Thursday.
Mallorca must win its last two games, starting at home against Rayo Vallecano, and hope that its rivals drop points.
“We are alive. We have two more finals left,” Mallorca coach Javier Aguirre said after his team took a point in a scoreless draw at Sevilla on Wednesday.
Alavés has the most difficult task of all. The Basque Country club is four points from safety and needs to beat Levante and then hope it reaches the last match against Cádiz with its chances alive.
The club said it would pay for the tickets and the bus ride for about 400 fans to go to Sunday's match at Levante in Valencia.
Near the top of the standings, Sevilla still needs to wrap up fourth place and the last Champions League berth. The team leads fifth-place Betis by five points before visiting Atlético Madrid.
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