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Porto and Benfica look to land decisive blow

Published: Friday 10 May 2013, 11.00CET
Local pride is at stake in Istanbul and Zurich while titles can be won in France, Spain and Portugal, where FC Porto host fellow unbeaten rivals SL Benfica in a mouthwatering match.

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Published: Friday 10 May 2013, 11.00CET

Porto and Benfica look to land decisive blow

Local pride is at stake in Istanbul and Zurich while titles can be won in France, Spain and Portugal, where FC Porto host fellow unbeaten rivals SL Benfica in a mouthwatering match.

Turkey: Fenerbahçe SK v Galatasaray AŞ (Sunday 19.00)
Galatasaray wrapped up the Super League title last weekend with two games to spare, but it will take more than that to diminish the anticipation surrounding the Istanbul derby. Honour and pride are at stake for Galatasaray – what better way to celebrate the championship than to win on your rivals' turf? For Fenerbahçe, chastened by the twin blows of missing out on the title and falling just short in the UEFA Europa League – what better tonic?

History certainly favours the home team, with Galatasaray still seeking their first victory of the millennium at the Şükrü Saracoğlu stadium, even if the last four years have brought a glut of entertaining draws. "Fenerbahçe-Galatasaray matches are among the most important derbies in the world. I hope for an entertaining game everybody can enjoy," said Galatasaray midfielder Selçuk İnan. But will one side of Istanbul enjoy it more than the other?

Switzerland: Grasshopper-Club v FC Zürich (Sunday 16.00)
Second-placed Grasshoppers head into the derby thankful for a midweek reprieve by their city rivals. Their chances of landing the Super League crown dwindled with each goal as they lost 4-0 on Tuesday at BSC Young Boys. Hope was restored 24 hours later when leaders FC Basel 1893, faced with the opportunity of going six points clear with five games to play, were beaten 3-1 at Zürich.

FCZ have lost the four previous derbies this season, including a 2-1 extra-time reverse in the Swiss Cup semi-finals, and coach Urs Meier believes it is "our turn" to assume the local bragging rights. Opposite number Uli Forte added: "When you win four times there are no guarantees you'll make it five. We will need to perform a lot better than we did against Young Boys."

Portugal: FC Porto v SL Benfica (Saturday 21.30)
UEFA Europa League finalists Benfica can wrap up the title away to reigning champions Porto but, with just two rounds remaining and two points separating the teams, a defeat could transform a possible dream into a nightmare for the Eagles. Both sides remain unbeaten in the Liga, and Benfica seemed destined to arrive at the Dragão with a four-point cushion until Monday's shock 1-1 home draw with GD Estoril-Praia.

Porto now have the perfect opportunity to reclaim top stop and take a giant step towards a third straight championship. Despite that, and the fact the match takes place four days before the Amsterdam final against Chelsea FC, Benfica coach Jorge Jesus is upbeat. "Of course it would be better to come into the game with a four-point lead but that doesn't mean we are any less calm and confident," he said. "Our destiny remains in our own hands."

©AFP/Getty Images

Thiago Alcántara: pointing the way

Spain: Club Atlético de Madrid v FC Barcelona (Sunday 19.00)
Barcelona may have already captured their 22nd Liga title by the time they visit third-placed Atlético. Should Real Madrid CF fail to win away to RCD Espanyol on Saturday, the Azulgrana will be guaranteed a fourth championship in five seasons – yet midfielder Thiago Alcántara says his team's focus is on their own game in the capital.

"Our match against Atlético is of the highest importance and no matter what Madrid do against Espanyol, we will be going to win," the 22-year-old said. "We long for this title, it's precious to us. Last year [Madrid] snatched it from us and we want it back. The day to day [workload] is very hard so this trophy will be celebrated."

©Getty Images

Milan out to seal third spot

Italy: AC Milan v AS Roma (Sunday 20.45)
Milan will definitely finish third and take Serie A's final UEFA Champions League berth if they beat Roma. The Rossoneri, 4-0 midweek winners at Pescara Calcio, are four points clear of fourth-placed ACF Fiorentina, while the capital club slipped two spots to seventh following Tuesday's 1-0 home loss to AC Chievo Verona. "We are in a good position to take third but it's not done yet, we must remain focused," said Milan coach Massimiliano Allegri.

With his two goals in Pescara, Mario Balotelli has reached double figures in a Serie A campaign for the first time. The Italy striker has scored 11 times in as many outings since moving to Milan in January from Manchester City FC.

©Getty Images

Ancelotti: calling for one more push

France: Olympique Lyonnais v Paris Saint-Germain FC (Sunday 21.00)
Seven points above Olympique de Marseille with three games remaining, PSG could be confirmed as Ligue 1 champions on Saturday depending on their nearest rivals' result at home to Toulouse FC. Coach Carlo Ancelotti, whose charges missed the chance to all but clinch the title last weekend when drawing 1-1 with Valenciennes FC in Paris, is without goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, defender Thiago Silva and midfielder Marco Verratti through suspension.

Third-placed Lyon have won three of their last four fixtures and are jostling with OGC Nice for the remaining UEFA Champions League slot. "We still need to win one more match and try to secure the title in Lyon," said Ancelotti. "It's going to be a huge game."

All times CET

Last updated: 04/12/13 5.30CET