Tue, 06 Jun 2023

MADRID, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Wednesday night features five matches in the 36th round of La Liga, headlined by a Madrid derby and three significant games where the fight against relegation is the key issue.

Real Madrid will play host to Rayo Vallecano, amid the controversy over racist abuse suffered by Vinicius Jr at Valencia on Sunday. Vinicius is suspended after being dismissed in the tense closing minutes of the game, likely paving the way for Marco Asensio to step in.

Carlo Ancelotti is expected to make more changes as Madrid coast towards the season's end, vying for second place in La Liga but with little else at stake.

Rayo's loss to Espanyol over the weekend struck a blow to their hopes of finishing seventh, but they are anticipated to launch an offensive against their rivals at the Bernabeu.

Atletico Madrid, who overtook Real Madrid for the second spot over the weekend and secured their place in next season's Champions League, will visit second-from-bottom Espanyol. Espanyol is just a point away from Getafe in 17th place after defeating Rayo.

With a visit to Valencia and a home game against fellow strugglers Almeria remaining, any points Espanyol can gain from this match would be a significant boost to their survival hopes.

Getafe will face off against Betis, who will miss suspended Juan Miranda. Both sides have a lot at stake: Betis needs three points to confirm their place in next season's Europa League, while Getafe is deeply mired in the relegation struggle.

Villarreal still retain a slim chance of finishing fourth this season, but to do so, they need to overcome Cadiz, whose survival hopes were boosted by defeating Valladolid last Friday. Points for Cadiz would put further pressure on Getafe and Espanyol, but stopping Villarreal's buoyant attack, led by lightning-fast Nicolas Jackson, will be a formidable task.

Wednesday also sees Sevilla visit Elche. Sevilla coach Jose Luis Mendilibar will have to balance the prospects of securing a seventh-place finish in the table against the need to rest his players ahead of next weekend's Europa League final against Roma, which could offer them a ticket to the Champions League.

Thursday's matches include Mallorca hosting Valencia, while Osasuna and Athletic Bilbao replay their Copa del Rey semifinal.

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