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Seville pride at stake

Published: Friday 28 February 2003, 17.00CET
Real Betis Balompié and Sevilla FC want to be on their best behaviour this weekend. features

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Published: Friday 28 February 2003, 17.00CET

Seville pride at stake

Real Betis Balompié and Sevilla FC want to be on their best behaviour this weekend.

It might stand out on the Spanish fixture list, but Sunday's derby game between Real Betis Balompié and Sevilla FC will also attract attention for the wrong reasons.

Stadium ban
Betis have refused to put match tickets on general sale after the two previous Seville derbies were marred by violent incidents involving both sets of supporters. Sevilla received a four-match stadium ban following the game at the Sánchez Pizjuán last October, when a Sevilla supporter jumped on the back of Betis goalkeeper Toni Prats.

Members only
It will be members only at the Manuel Ruíz de Lopera stadium, guaranteeing an all-Betis crowd for a match the home team need to win to boost their chances of a UEFA Cup place. Elsewhere in the Primera División, Deportivo Alavés should test Real Madrid CF's title credentials when the European champions travel to Vitoria. The Merengues miss the injured Luis Figo, while Claude Makelele is suspended.

Man down
Leaders Real Sociedad are also a man down for their trip to Real Valladolid, with Nihat Kahveci serving a ban. FC Barcelona chase a third straight league win at Club Atlético Osasuna. Valencia have a tough assignment at RC Celta de Vigo, while RC Deportivo La Coruna are away to Real Racing Club Santander.

'Derby d'Italia'
Meanwhile, Sunday's 'derby d'Italia' between Juventus FC and Internazionale FC must rank as the most eagerly awaited fixture in Europe this weekend. The joint Serie A leaders meet in Turin ready to dispute domestic supremacy - and put aside midweek disappointments in the UEFA Champions League.

Injury worries
Juventus are without captain Alessandro Del Piero, but Inter coach Hector Cuper has more to worry about with nine first-teamers out through injury. AC Milan, who are two points behind in third place, host Atalanta BC, S.S. Lazio visit AC Perugia, while AS Roma entertain Empoli FC.

Form team
They might be 15 places and 27 points behind the leaders, but FC Energie Cottbus go into Saturday's game against FC Bayern München as the form team in the German Bundesliga. Energie have won four of their last five matches to move level on points with the two sides immediately above the relegation zone, Bayer 04 Leverkusen and Hannover 96, although they remain third from bottom.

Make amends
An easier task faces Bayern's closest rivals in the title race, BV Borussia Dortmund, who are ten points distant. They take on FC Hansa Rostock, keen to make amends for conceding a last-gasp equaliser to Real Madrid CF on Tuesday. Leverkusen also have much to prove at home against SV Werder Bremen.

Salting the wound
In France, defending champions Olympique Lyonnais will want to complete a miserable week for UEFA Cup losers AJ Auxerre in Sunday's game at the Abbé Deschamps. An away victory would boost Lyon's hopes of retaining the title. They are currently third in the table, six points behind leaders Olympique de Marseille. OM have a negotiable fixture at RC Strasbourg, while second-placed AS Monaco FC head north to Lille OSC.

Cup of plenty
Match of the day in England is the League Cup final between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Cardiff's Millennium Stadium. United have doubts about the fitness of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Wes Brown, while Stéphane Henchoz could miss out for Liverpool.

Debut day
The Premiership's outstanding fixture is a meeting of the third and fourth-placed teams, Newcastle United FC and Chelsea FC, at Saint James' Park. English international defender Jonathan Woodgate, a €13.75m signing from Leeds United FC last month, could make his Newcastle debut.

Last updated: 10/12/17 6.42CET

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