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Chelsea out to maul Black Cats

Chelsea 8 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Apr 28, 2006

Title to put gloss on perfect week for Barca

MADRID, April 28 (Reuters) - Barcelona can crown an impressive week's work this weekend by adding the Primera Liga title to the Champions League final place they secured on Wednesday.

Barca, on 73 points, have to beat struggling Cadiz in the Nou Camp on Saturday and then wait to see if second-placed Valencia, on 65, fail to beat another relegation candidate Alaves at home on Sunday.

Valencia would only have three games left after this round of matches, leaving Frank Rijkaard's side to claim their second consecutive championship title.

Barca's players will have an extra spring in their step after holding AC Milan to a goalless draw on Wednesday, that was enough to put them into the Champions League final 1-0 on aggregate.

Second-from-bottom Cadiz are unbeaten in three, and still have time to save themselves from a swift return to the second division.

The fight for Spain's second automatic Champions League slot hots up with Valencia, third-placed Real Madrid and Osasuna in fourth separated by just three points.

Valencia travel to face misfiring Alaves having scored 13 goals in their last four games. The Basques have one goal from their last five.

But in the most intriguing tie Osasuna, on 62 points, host a Real side, on 63, who have been distracted by a turbulent week behind the scenes.

Their board ousted president Fernando Martin to call for elections on Wednesday while playmaker Zinedine Zidane announced his decision to retire after the World Cup.

On top of that, Real have been unimpressive in the league. They needed a last minute goal to defeat basement side Malaga 2-1 in the Bernabeu last weekend, and have accumulated six draws in their last eight games.

Osasuna captain Patxi Punal told the Osasuna website: "It is always uncomfortable for them when they come here and I suppose it will be worse this time because things aren't going well for them.

"They are not playing as well as they have in previous seasons but we mustn't forget that they still have a strong squad with some great players."

Real will be without the suspended Zidane, and injured leading scorer Ronaldo, while midfielder Guti is a doubt with an ankle injury.

Javier Aguirre's side drew 1-1 in the Bernabeu in December despite playing 75 minutes of the game with 10 men following Punal's early red card.

Malaga, cut adrift at the foot of table, could be relegated if results go against them.