Title race over, Spanish league turns focus to 6 teams in relegation fight

AP , Thursday 18 May 2023

With the Spanish league title already clinched by Barcelona, the focus now shifts to the drama at the bottom.

Barcelona s players celebrate winning their 27th Spanish league championship after the Spanish league football match between RCD Espanyol and FC Barcelona at the RCDE Stadium in Cornella de Llobregat on May 14, 2023. AFP


Six teams — Valencia, Almeria, Cadiz, Valladolid, Getafe and Espanyol — are within seven points of one another in a fight to see which two will accompany already-relegated Elche to the second division.

With four matches left, Getafe and Espanyol are currently in 18th and 19th place, respectively, the spots that will be relegated at the end of the season.

Cadiz hosts Valladolid on Friday in a direct fight between two teams trying to stave off demotion.

Cadiz and Valladolid are even on points and only one ahead of Getafe. The loser of Friday’s game — or both teams if it ends in a draw — would be in danger of falling into the drop zone if Getafe beats last-place Elche on Saturday.

“We know how important this game is,” Cadiz coach Sergio González said Thursday. “We are playing at home and have our fans to push us forward. The result of this game can be a turning point for what is left of the season. It will be an intense match, and we have to reduce our errors and go for the win.”

Valladolid, a club owned by Brazil great Ronaldo, has lost four straight under coach Paulo Pezzolano, who took over last month.

“I would be more worried if we weren’t creating chances, but we have to score more,” Pezzolano said. “We have rivals which are also in trouble and there are three teams below us in the standings, so we have to take advantage of that.”

Valencia, in 14th place, can take a big step to ensuring it stays up if it can beat Real Madrid at home on Sunday.

Madrid only has second place to play for after Barcelona wrapped up the title last weekend. Madrid won the Copa del Rey earlier this month but was eliminated from the Champions League semifinals by Manchester City this week.

Almeria is two points above the relegation zone before it hosts Mallorca on Saturday.

Espanyol is four points from safety before visiting Rayo Vallecano on Sunday. Espanyol may face disciplinary action from the Spanish league for last weekend's field invasion by spectators angered by the celebrations of Barcelona following their title-deciding victory.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

Short link: