MADRID, April 28 (Xinhua) — FC Barcelona will go top of La Liga on Thursday night if they beat Granada in the Camp Nou, in a match that was postponed due to their appearance in the Copa del Rey final on April 17.
Atletico Madrid’s 2-1 defeat to Athletic Bilbao on Sunday night and Real Madrid’s failure to beat Real Betis 24 hours earlier opened the door for Ronald Koeman’s side to go top with just five matches left to play.
“Being the leaders is a reward, but first of all we have to win,” said Koeman, who admitted there have been times this season when the title looked well out of reach as they fell over ten points behind Atletico.
“If you look back, it is unexpected, but being able to fight for the title is something that we have earned,” he said.
Granada travel to Barcelona in a comfortable mid-table position after a 2-1 defeat to Sevilla at the weekend, while Barca go into the match after a run of eight wins from their last nine league games.
“This is as important as all of the other games and we have already been under a lot of pressure for a long time because we can’t fail as we need the points,” commented Koeman.
“We know the title is a race between four teams [Atletico, Real Madrid, Barca and Sevilla] and the team that wins the title will have to win all of its matches,” he assured.
Koeman is unlikely to make many changes to the side that won in Villarreal on Sunday, although Ronald Araujo and Sergi Roberto could return to his starting line-up, while fit-again Ousmane Dembele will probably start on the bench given Antoine Griezmann’s impressive recent form.
Barca won 4-0 in Granada earlier in the season and also knocked them out of the Copa del Rey after scoring two late goals, and if they can make it three wins out of three, they will be in pole position in the title race ahead of key games away to Valencia and at home to Atletico Madrid in the next 10 days. Enditem