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MATCHDAY: AC Milan hosts Genoa; Real Betis, Rennes eye CL

A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Friday:

SPAIN

Real Betis can move ahead of Atlético Madrid and into fourth place in the Spanish league if it wins at Real Sociedad. Betis enters the round just one point behind Atlético. Sociedad is also in the fight for a top-four finish and a Champions League berth. A victory would lift the Basque Country team level with Atlético before the titleholders play Espanyol on Sunday. The game is one of two league matches Betis has before playing the final of the Copa del Rey against Valencia. Coach Manuel Pellegrini reminded his squad that “if (a player) plays poorly thinking ahead to the Copa, it will be tough for him to be in the starting lineup (for the final).”

ITALY

AC Milan is still without Zlatan Ibrahimović and desperate for goals as the Serie A leader prepares to host relegation-threatened Genoa. The veteran forward will be out for at least another week as he recovers from a knee problem, the latest in a series of injuries this season. Milan heads into the match on the back of two straight goalless draws. The Rossoneri have only scored four goals in their last seven matches and have seen their lead cut to just two points above Inter Milan — which has played a match less — and Napoli. Milan could start the match in second place as Inter kicks off at Spezia two hours earlier than its city rival. Genoa is also desperate for the points as it is three points below safety, having lost its past two matches.

FRANCE

Rennes is pushing hard for second place and automatic qualification for the Champions League. A home win against improving Monaco would move it above rival Marseille into second on goal difference. This would put extra pressure on Marseille, which played in Europe on Thursday night ahead of a tough match at league leader Paris Saint-Germain on Sunday. But Monaco is not out of the running for the Champions League and a win would move it just two points behind Rennes in fourth place, which earns automatic qualification for the Europa League. There could be plenty of scoring, with Rennes forward Martin Terrier and Monaco's Wissam Ben Yedder tied on 18 goals. They are second only to PSG's Kylian Mbappe, who leads the league with 20.

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