Barcelona told to put the champagne on ice

MADRID - Barcelona will need to keep the euphoria in check if they are to hold onto the La Liga title in what promises to be a nerve-jangling final day of the Spanish season on Sunday.

MADRID - Barcelona will need to keep the euphoria in check if they are to hold onto the La Liga title in what promises to be a nerve-jangling final day of the Spanish season on Sunday.

The champions are at home to Real Valladolid and have a one-point lead and the head-to-head advantage over chasing Real Madrid. At the same time, their arch-rivals visit Malaga, where a victory and a Barca slip-up is the only way Real can avoid finishing a second consecutive season without a trophy.

Both Valladolid and Malaga, along with three other sides, are fighting to avoid relegation to the second division.

Last weekend's nervy 3-2 win away to Sevilla saw Barca's players celebrating on the pitch having overcome what had been considered the toughest obstacle left for them, but captain Carlos Puyol sounded a note of caution.

"It's a difficult game against a side fighting to stay in the league. It won't be a stroll in the park," he said.

Barca have the mixed blessing of playing in front of their own fans at the Nou Camp but face a wily opponent in the shape of former Spain boss Javier Clemente, who has been brought in to try save Valladolid from relegation.

"Miracles don't exist in football, but surprises do," Clemente told daily Sport.

A victory for Real in Malaga would leave them with 98 points, which is enough to have taken the title every year since the league began. But if Barca win they will move on to 99. - Reuters

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