La Liga - Team news: Barca appeal over Xavi

Reuters - Fri, 14 May 13:54:00 2010

Barcelona have launched a new appeal against Xavi's suspension for their final match of the season after the Spanish FA stood by their decision.

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Barca have now appealed to the Spanish Committee for Sporting Discipline. The Catalan giants are trying to overturn a yellow card Xavi picked up for protesting a refereeing decision in last weekend's 3-2 win at Sevilla, that was his fifth in the current cycle.

The leaders are at home to Real Valladolid on Sunday and with a one-point advantage over chasing Real Madrid can assure themselves of the title with a final day victory.

Andres Iniesta could be Xavi's replacement in midfield as he is close to a return to action after a month and a half out injured, but caution is the word with the World Cup just round the corner.

Real Madrid are away to Malaga on Sunday and could be without playmaker Guti, who missed training on Friday. Raul and Pepe are still injured but Rafael van der Vaart and Kaka have both recovered from problems and should be available.

Relegation-threatened Malaga have not won in 10 matches.

Fourth-placed Sevilla visit Almeria on Saturday needing a victory to secure Spain's last Champions League qualification place. Next Wednesday they take on Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

"I hope things go well in these two games, which are both finals, so that the Spain coach takes note of me," striker Alvaro Negredo said of his outside chances of making Vicente del Bosque's final 23-man squad for the World Cup finals.

Real Mallorca are the only side who can overtake Sevilla, one point back in fifth, and they host Espanyol at the same time.

Sixth-placed Getafe could qualify for the Europa League on their own merits for the first time, having twice made it as Copa del Rey final losers, if they can beat newly-crowned Europa League champions Atletico Madrid away on Saturday.

Atletico have just finished celebrations from Wednesday's extra-time victory over Fulham and are completely focused on next week's Cup final against Sevilla. They have nothing to play for in the league.

Basement club Xerez are three points adrift of four teams level on 36 points and need to win away at Osasuna, and hope the correct combination of teams above them all lose, to avoid the drop.

Xerez, who have been bottom of the table since November, have good head-to-head records over the other four.

"I would say we have an 80 per cent chance of survival if we win," striker Mario Bermejo told sports daily AS.


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