Madrid, May 9 (IANS) If FC Barcelona want to mathematically assure themselves of the Primera Liga football title this coming weekend, it looks as if they are going to have to do it the hard way.
With an eight-point lead over Real Madrid and a game in hand, it would be enough for Barcelona should Real Madrid fail to win away to Espanyol, Saturday night, reports Xinhua.
However, although Real Madrid’s game in Cornella el Prat is their last game before the Copa del Rey final against Atletico the following Friday, Jose Mourinho’s side have been in good form of late, as shown by their 6-2 win at home to Malaga Wednesday.
That win came despite the fans in the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium booing Mourinho for his probable departure from the club and his continued decision to leave goalkeeper, Iker Casillas out of his side.
Espanyol have lost two consecutive games, which appears to have put paid to their chances of European football after an impressive second half to the season under coach Javier Aguirre.
Espanyol had climbed to within touching distance of a top eight spot, but rather than press on for European qualification that team seems to have taken its foot off the gas, which must raise questions about their motivation.
That means that Barca will probably need to win in the Vicente Calderon away to Atletico, who on Wednesday assured themselves of at least a third place finish.
It remains to be seen whether or not Atletico will rest players for the cup final. But everything points to them fielding a strong side with strikers Diego Costa and Radamel Falcao providing a real challenge for a leaky Barca defence.
Barcelona, meanwhile, will look to Leo Messi, as they so often have done, to provide the inspiration and the fact is that Messi does not only provide goals for his side, he appears to inspire his team-mates to greater heights.