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Soccer-LaLiga talking points – Metro US

Soccer-LaLiga talking points

LaLiga – FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano
LaLiga – FC Barcelona v Rayo Vallecano

MADRID (Reuters) – Talking points from the weekend in LaLiga.

REAL MADRID ON THE VERGE OF THE TITLE

Real Madrid are only one point away from being sure of their 35th Spanish league title.

With five games still to be played, the leaders benefited from Rayo Vallecano’s shock 1-0 win at Barcelona on Sunday and, with their 15-point advantage at the top over bitter rivals Barca and Sevilla, who are level in second place, Carlo Ancelotti’s side would clinch LaLiga’s title with a draw at home against Espanyol on Saturday.

Real Madrid did their homework last Wednesday, winning authoritatively 3-1 at Osasuna despite resting several usual starters such as Casemiro, Luka Modric and Vinicius Jr as they prepare to face Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Tuesday.

Now, thanks to a little help from Madrid’s own Rayo at Camp Nou, they can start preparing the celebration for next Saturday at Santiago Bernabeu.

BARCELONA HISTORIC DEBACLE

“Disaster!!!” Catalonia daily newspaper Sport screamed on its front page on Monday, referring to Barcelona’s Camp Nou loss to lowly Rayo Vallecano on Sunday.

Barca hit rock bottom with another disappointing result in another disappointing season, earning three consecutive home losses in all competitions for the first time in club history.

After falling in the Europa League quarter-finals against Eintratch Frankfurt, losing for the first time at home to lowly Cadiz and handing Rayo only their second league win since January, Xavi Hernandez’s side are now in danger of not finishing second and missing the 3.4 million euros that the club would make going to the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE RACE

Barca are also in danger of missing qualification for the Champions League entirely, as only six points separate them from Betis in fifth as the battle to finish in the top four and secure a place in the top European competition intensifies.

The Copa del Rey champions will host Barca in two weeks looking to close the gap further.

Barca, level with Sevilla on 63 points, will have a difficult time against Betis, who are motivated after winning the cup final on penalties last Saturday, their first title in almost 20 years.

Atletico Madrid are fourth on 61 points and even Real Sociedad, sixth on 55 points, are still in play with five games to go.

(Reporting by Fernando Kallas; Editing by Alex Richardson)

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