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Different moods for top teams in La Liga weekend action

IANS logoIANS 14-04-2017

Saturday kicks off with Deportivo la Coruna desperate for a win at home against a Malaga side that has climbed away from the relegation zone, thanks to consecutive wins, reports Xinhua news agency.

Real Madrid are next in action with a trip to play Sporting Gijon, whose hopes of avoiding relegation have suffered a huge setback with two consecutive defeats that have left them five points away from safety.

Madrid travel north on the back of their 2-1 win away over Bayern Munich in the Champions League and with their morale sky high. Head coach Zinedine Zidane will possibly rest some of his key players for the return leg of their European tie, but won't have that luxury in defence where Sergio Ramos and Nacho Fernandez are his only two fit central defenders.

Atletico are next up and aim to cement their place in third at home facing bottom of the table Osasuna, who nevertheless travel to the capital following consecutive wins, which will probably do little to help their campaign to avoid the drop.

With only a slender lead over Leicester City in their Champions League tie, Atletico coach Diego Simeone will also be tempted to make changes and will hope striker Kevin Gameiro is available to play.

There is a different mood in Barcelona, after their 0-3 thrashing away by Juventus and the post-match criticism head coach Luis Enrique directed at his players. Barcelona entertain fifth-placed Real Sociedad, who have their sights set on a place in Europe. And with Asier Illaramendi and David Zurutuza both fit for the visitors, Barcelona will have to improve on their midweek showing in order to avoid an upset which would definitively end their title hopes.

Leganes suffered a body blow to their chances of avoiding relegation when they lost to Osasuna last week, but they still have a five-point cushion over Sporting Gijon, which they can add to win their home game against Espanyol, who maintain an outside chance of a top-six finish.

All eyes will be on Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli as his side visits Valencia after stories that he will meet with members of the Argentina Football Association about taking over as national team coach against the wishes of his club, which needs a win in order to stay in the contest for third place with Atletico Madrid.

Betis coach Victor Sanchez has possibly one last chance to save his job as his side entertain Eibar. The Basques are in the seventh place in the table and are possibly the last team a chaotic Betis need to face at the moment.

Tony Adams makes his debut as Granada coach at home against Celta, who could also make squad rotations due to their European commitments. The round of matches ends on Monday when Alaves look to end a three-game losing streak at home to Villarreal.

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