Fermin López scored both goals as Barcelona defeated last-place Almeria 2-0 on Thursday to move closer to securing second place in the Spanish league.

López scored a goal in each half for Barcelona, which opened a four-point gap to third-place Girona with two rounds to go. Second place guarantees a spot in the lucrative Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia.

Barcelona closes its league campaign by hosting Rayo Vallecano and visiting Sevilla, while Girona visits Valencia and hosts Granada.

“It’s a clear victory that moves us closer to our goal of finishing in second place,” Barcelona coach Xavi Hernández said.

It was the third win in four matches for Barcelona, which is 14 points behind already crowned champion Real Madrid. Madrid defeated Alaves 5-0 on Tuesday.

Almeria, which has only 17 points from 36 matches, remains without a home victory in the league this season. Its only two league wins came at Las Palmas and at Rayo Vallecano.

Real Betis was held to a 2-2 draw at Las Palmas in a match in which playmaker Isco left with an injury after a hard knock from an opponent in the first half.

Coach Manuel Pellegrini also lost midfielder Guido Rodriguez because of an apparent muscle injury early in the game.

Betis entered the round in sixth place and in the fight for the European qualification spots. It dropped to seventh after Real Sociedad defeated Valencia 1-0 later Thursday with a goal by André Silva three minutes into the match.

Isco, who is expected to make Spain’s squad for the European Championship, went off in the 39th and Rodriguez in the 20th because of their injuries.

Barcelona will definitely be without Gavi, Alejandro Balde, and Frenkie de Jong this weekend, as all three are sidelined until the 2024-25 season.

Ronald Araujo is also dealing with knee pain, which could potentially rule him out for the rest of the season.

The visitors will be missing Trejo after his red card in the early stages of their victory over Granada last time out.

Diego Mendez is out for the season with a ligament injury, but the team is otherwise in good shape.

FC Barcelona will host Rayo Vallecano at the Estadio Olimpico Lluis Companys for the last home game of the season. While the questions about the future of the coach of the club Xavi are increasing after the rumors that would see him leaving despite agreeing to stay a few weeks ago, the Balugrana will play their last home game of the season with nothing but second place to play for.

It’s been another term of whirlwind drama for Barca, with speculation once again mounting over the future of manager Xavi after a campaign with no silverware and back-and-forth jibes with club officials.

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