Real Madrid keen to clinch title in Pamplona (Preview Spanish League)

May 1st, 2008 - 5:55 pm ICT by admin  

Madrid, May 1 (DPA) Sunday is going to be a big day for Real Madrid. That is when they are hoping to clinch their 31st Spanish La Liga title, their first back-to-back title since 1990. In order to do this, they need to win away to lowly Osasuna, or hope that Villarreal don’t beat Getafe earlier Sunday.

Real are 10 points ahead of second-placed Villarreal — with crisis club Barcelona trailing in third — with just four games left.

“I hope we seal that title as soon as possible,” said Real defender Sergio Ramos.

Real could be without ankle sprain victim Guti. The good news for the whites, though, is that veteran striker Ruud Van Nistelrooy is fit again — and raring to go.

Osasuna need the points even more badly than Real. The Pamplona side are joint fourth from bottom with 40 points, two more than similarly troubled Zaragoza.

There is really only one relegation place left to decide. Bottom club Levante are already mathematically down and Murcia - with just 30 points - will surely follow them.

“We simply can’t afford to lose on Sunday,” said Osasuna goalkeeper Ricardo Lopez.

Ricardo will be able to play against Real because the red card he picked up in last Sunday’s 3-0 defeat in Valencia has been annulled on video evidence.

The 35th round of games will kick off Saturday with an interesting clash between Atletico Madrid and Recreativo Huelva.

Atletico are still fourth, despite their appalling form. Racing Santander — who should have few problems at home to Murcia Sunday — are just two points behind them.

“This season has become a prolonged torture,” said Atletico president Enrique Cerezo. “I just want it to finish quickly, with us earning a Champions League place.”

Huelva, for their part, are level on 40 points with Osasuna.

Later Saturday, Zaragoza are at home to a Deportivo Coruna side who have moved up to seventh in recent weeks.

Anything less than victory will spell massive trouble for Zaragoza, who will welcome back striker Diego Milito with open arms.

Sixth-placed Sevilla are at home to lowly Valladolid Sunday, whilst fellow strugglers Valencia are away to Barcelona.

Valencia have not lost in the Camp Nou for six years and must fancy their chances Sunday, given Barca’s atrocious form and their fatigue after Tuesday’s Champions League elimination in Manchester.

The Barca fans — those that prefer the game to the beach, that is — will surely take the opportunity to vent their frustration on embattled coach Frank Rijkaard and unwanted veterans like Thierry Henry and Gianluca Zambrotta.

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