Sports

Valencia aims to keep hold of Champions League place

Madrid, Spain (SportsNetwork.com) - With Barcelona having been crowned champions of La Liga last weekend, the focus on the final day of the season turns to the race for fourth place and relegation.

And Saturday's contest between Valencia and Almeria will be crucial in both aspects with Los Che attempting to keep hold of fourth place to secure a spot in the Champions League, while Almeria needs a win at home to have any chance of survival.

Valencia enters the final day one point clear of fifth-place Sevilla and the club brings a five-game unbeaten streak into the match which includes a 2-2 draw at Real Madrid a few weeks ago that derailed Madrid's title hopes.

A win over Almeria will be enough to see Valencia return to the Champions League, but the home side will be fighting for its life and won't be expected to just lay down.

Almeria is two points from safety ahead of Saturday's match, and nothing short of a win will do. The team has taken just one point from its last four games, but it was competitive in the first league meeting at Valencia in January, losing 3-2 to a goal from Alvaro Negredo in the 83rd minute.

The cruel part about Almeria's situation is that the club is also facing sanctions from FIFA stemming from a transfer irregularity which could cost the club three points.

So even if Almeria pulls off the upset on Saturday and manages to survive on the field, FIFA is expected to make a ruling next Tuesday that could see Almeria docked three points, which would ensure relegation.

Sevilla will need Valencia to drop points to have any chance at claiming fourth place, and the club will need a win at Malaga to at least do its part in overtaking Valencia on the final day with Los Che sitting one point clear.

Atletico Madrid needs a point at Granada to lock up third place, while Granada is fighting to stay in La Liga next season sitting two points clear of the relegation places.

Deportivo is also two points above the drop zone and visits champions Barcelona, which would normally be as tough a test as possible. However, Barca will have nothing to play for and will be more concerned with resting and keeping players healthy ahead of the Copa del Rey final and Champions League final the next two weeks.

Second-place Real Madrid closes out its campaign at home against Getafe, which has already secured safety, Elche visits Levante in a battle of bottom-half sides, Villarreal invades Athletic Bilbao in a top-seven clash, Espanyol travels to Celta Vigo, Eibar needs three points at home against relegated Cordoba to have a chance to avoid joining their opponents in the second division next season, while Rayo Vallecano entertains Real Sociedad.