Sat, 15 Aug 2020

MADRID, July 7 (Xinhua) -- Matchday 35 in Spain's La Liga kicks off on Tuesday with the chance that at least one of the major issues of the season can be resolved over the next four days.

Tuesday night sees Valencia host Real Valladolid, with the home side needing a win to maintain their slim hopes of qualifying for Europe next season. Four defeats and a draw in their last six games have sorely dented Valencia's European hopes and cost Albert Celades his job as coach. Stand-in boss Voro will be without injured striker Rodrigo Moreno against a rival that is likely to be tough to break down.

Celta Vigo are just six points clear of the relegation zone and need to take something from their home game against in-form Atletico Madrid to avoid a nervy end to the season.

Celta wasted a good chance to pull clear of the bottom three when they were held by Real Betis in their last game, and facing an Atletico side unbeaten since the return of football is likely to be an even tougher proposition.

Wednesday could see the first relegation of the season confirmed in the Barcelona derby. FC Barcelona entertain Espanyol needing a win to pull to within one point of Real Madrid at the top of the table, while also knowing that defeating their local rivals would condemn Wu Lei's Espanyol to the second division.

Lionel Messi remains ever-present for Barca, who on Sunday produced their best display since Quique Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde as coach when they won 4-1 away to Villarreal.

That defeat to Barcelona put the brakes on Villarreal's top-four hopes, and they have another tough encounter on Wednesday when they travel to Getafe for a clash between the sixth and fifth placed teams in La Liga.

Getafe have been below their best since the restart, but have a five-point cushion over eighth place, although that could be cut to just two points in the case of a home defeat.

Wednesday also sees mid-table Betis face Osasuna in a fixture where temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius in Sevilla are likely to be a key factor.

Thursday's matches begin with a key battle to avoid relegation: as well as virtually condemning Espanyol to the drop, Leganes' 1-0 win in Cornella at the weekend maintained their slim hopes of survival.

Javier Aguirre's men visit 17th-placed Eibar knowing anything other than a win will almost certainly send them down, while Eibar will think three points against a direct rival will keep them in the top flight for another year.

18th-placed Mallorca also have no options other than to win when they entertain a solid Levante who sit comfortably in mid-table.

Thursday's final game sees Athletic Bilbao, still smarting from their controversial defeat to Real Madrid on Sunday, entertain Sevilla, who have lost their last nine visits to the San Mames Stadium. Athletic will be without suspended top-scorer Raul Garcia and the injured Yeray Alvarez, while Sevilla are likely to be without keeper Tomas Vaclik after he hurt his left knee against Eibar on Monday night.

The round of matches ends on Friday with Real Sociedad looking to move closer to a place in Europe at home to Granada, while Real Madrid should make it eight wins from eight at home to Alaves, who have lost their last five matches and on Sunday sacked coach Asier Garitano and replaced him with Juan Muniz.

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