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Five football matches you should not miss today

From La Liga and Serie A to MLS Cup final, here are today’s top football matches.

Los Angeles FC forward Carlos Vela watches a match
Los Angeles FC's Carlos Vela will take on Philadelphia Union in the 2022 MLS Cup final on Saturday [File: Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY/Reuters]

We are into November, with just a few match days remaining before the world’s top domestic football leagues are suspended and all eyes turn to the Qatar World Cup.

On another super Saturday, here are our five matches to keep your eyes on today:

Barcelona v Almeria

Where: Camp Nou, Spain
When: 9pm (19:00 GMT)

The shock announcement of Gerard Piqué’s retirement from football on Thursday means that this will be the final appearance of the Barca great at the club’s iconic Catalan home. It will be his 616th appearance across all competitions, the club’s fifth-highest tally.

But Saturday is not all about Piqué. Barcelona are trailing Real Madrid by only one point at the top of La Liga, and sense their chance to return to the top. Newly promoted Almeria may not provide much of a challenge as Barcelona continue their charge, and defender Piqué will be hoping for a clean sheet in his final home game.

Los Angeles FC v Philadelphia Union

Where: Banc of California Stadium, California
When: 4pm (20:00 GMT)

The final of the 2022 Major League Soccer Cup (MLS) may well turn out to be the best MLS match-up in years. Philadelphia is a city riding high in the sports world: Two of its teams are in major title contention, with the Phillies currently surging towards glory in baseball’s World Series. Los Angeles, meanwhile, find themselves under the guidance of the mercurial Steve Cherundolo, who has been widely tipped to become the next head coach of the US men’s national football team.

Los Angeles FC (LAFC) scored six goals in their two playoff games, and remain unbeaten at home against Eastern Conference sides. The last three games between these two sides have ended in draws. But if Philadelphia do get on the scoreboard, watch out for another – the Union have scored twice in five minutes no fewer than 13 times this season.

Atalanta v Napoli

Where: Gewiss Stadium, Bergamo
When: 7pm (17:00 GMT)

Napoli, sitting on the top of Itay’s Serie A with a comfortable five-point lead, travel to second-place Atalanta.

Both sides are in form, losing only once this season. Napoli coach Luciano Spalletti is looking for his first Italian title, and could take a big step towards that goal with a win on Saturday. But Atalanta’s defence – statistically only second in Serie A to Juventus this season – will not make that an easy task.

Atalanta
Atalanta are hoping to close the gap with league leaders Napoli on Saturday [File: Jennifer Lorenzini/Reuters]

Galatasaray v Besiktas

Where: Nef Stadyumu, Istanbul
When: 7pm (17:00 GMT)

Galatasaray would make it four unbeaten games at home if they can pull off a victory against local rivals Besiktas, who sit one place above them in Turkey’s Super Lig.

A win for Besiktas, meanwhile, would put four points between the two teams – but they will need to overcome a Galatasaray defence which has conceded only nine goals in the league this season.

Besiktas, who have found the net 25 times in their 12 league matches so far this season, are also buoyed by the recent return of Senol Gunes as head coach. That said, keep an eye out for Galatasaray’s Kazimcan Karatas returning from injury. This will not be an easy game for either team.

Manchester City v Fulham

Where: Etihad Stadium, Manchester
When: 3pm (15:00 GMT)

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola has said Premier League top goalscorer Erling Haaland – who has netted 22 goals across all competitions already this season – could return to action against Fulham after being rested for City’s Champions League clash with Sevilla this week.

But Kalvin Phillips and Kyle Walker are still not fit to make the match-day squad, as City sit two points behind leaders Arsenal.

Newly promoted Fulham have had a flying start to the season, sitting in seventh place in the Premier League, but head coach Marco Silva will need to ensure Fulham do not waste any opportunities they may be lucky enough to get against a City side on a 14-game win streak at home.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies