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Valencia to test Sevilla's stamina

Published: Saturday 14 April 2007, 8.21CET
After eventful forays into European competition, the Spanish title is back on the agenda as Valencia CF meet Sevilla FC at the Mestalla stadium on Sunday.
by Lucy Turner
from Barcelona

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Published: Saturday 14 April 2007, 8.21CET

Valencia to test Sevilla's stamina

After eventful forays into European competition, the Spanish title is back on the agenda as Valencia CF meet Sevilla FC at the Mestalla stadium on Sunday.

After eventful weeks in European competition, the Spanish title is back on the agenda as Valencia CF meet Sevilla FC at the Mestalla Stadium on Sunday night.

On a high
Still on a high after Thursday's 2-2 draw at Tottenham Hotspur FC took them into the UEFA Cup semi-finals, Sevilla remain in contention for an incredible treble. They face RC Deportivo La Coruña in the Copa del Rey semi-finals and sit within a point of Primera División leaders FC Barcelona.

Dwindling fortunes
Valencia, by contrast, are in danger of having nothing to celebrate come the season's end. A 2-1 midweek home defeat by Chelsea FC ended their UEFA Champions League challenge, and as things stand, they are far from certain of returning to Europe's top club competition next term. Recent losses to Real Racing Club Santander and Athletic Club Bilbao have left them fifth in the table, six points behind Barcelona and trailing Real Zaragoza for the fourth and final UEFA Champions League spot. Victory against Sevilla looks like a necessity.

Focus on Sevilla
Striker Fernando Morientes is understandably edgy. "Thinking about winning the league when we're fifth doesn't say much about a team," he said. "We have to think about beating Sevilla and going to the Santiago Bernabéu [on 21 April] with three more points in the bag, but we have to go step by step." Injuries continue to dog Valencia however, with Raúl Albiol (knee) and David Silva (ankle) the latest names on Quique Sánchez Flores's sick list. Vicente Rodríguez, Rubén Baraja, Jaime Gavilán, Mario Regueiro and Edu have already missed chunks of the campaign.

Stretched resources
With goalless draws in their last two Primera División outings, Sevilla are also showing signs of fatigue. Juande Ramos's men have been unable to capitalise on Barcelona's mixed form and key players are feeling the strain, with goalkeeper Andrés Palop struggling with a calf problem since February. Scoring against his old team Tottenham may have helped Frédéric Kanouté forget about the groin complaint that has troubled him most of this term, yet the aches and pains are sure to come back for Ramos's European heroes if things turn against them on Sunday.

Last updated: 15/04/07 21.22CET

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