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PHOTO: ARCHIVE FCB

FC Barcelona’s Liga 2011/12 season comes to an end in Seville tonight against Real Betis. Already confirmed as runners-up in the competition, much of the attention has already shifted to the Copa del Rey Final on May 25 against impressive Europa League finalists Athletic Bilbao, a team that also has nothing to play for on the final day of Spanish League action. For Guardiola, what matters most about today’s fixture is the fact that it the last run-out for his players before the showdown at the Vicente Calderón.

Missing Pinto

He has picked a squad of 19 players for his last ever league fixture as Barça manager, namely the 15 available members of the first team, plus Oier, Montoya, Bartra and Tello of Barça B. The reserve team keeper will be there as cover for Víctor Valdés in Seville, while Pinto, who will in theory start the cup final in goal, stays at home with a sprained ankle. Also missing are the injured Fontàs, Villa, Abidal, Puyol and Alexis. Keita, however, does make the team sheet, having recovered in time from problems with the soleus muscle in his left leg.

Betis end fine return year

The only major absentees from the Andalusian ranks are Iriney and Nelson. Like Barça, Betis aren’t really playing for anything other than pride. They can generally feel happy about way their season has gone, considering it was their first back in the top flight. Betis was the team that, earlier this season, put an end to FC Barcelona’s incredible run of 53 goals for and none against at the Camp Nou. With the pressure off, both teams should be able to relax and take some risks this evening, which will hopefully produce plenty of goals and excitement to mark the end of their respective league campaigns.


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