Preview: History to repeat for Valencia while Barca need goalsSouce:Xinhua Publish By Dustin Updated 23/01/2013 8:43 am in Sport / no comments
MADRID, Jan. 22 — The return legs of the quarterfinals of Spain’s Copa del Rey promise drama and the possibility of a Real Madrid – FC Barcelona meeting in the semifinals.
Real Madrid play in Valencia on Wednesday night knowing they won 5-0 in the same stadium last Sunday in the BBVA Primera Liga thanks to a hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo and two goals from Angel Di Maria.
Jose Mourinho’s side protect a 2-0 lead and it would be a brave man who predicts Valencia will be able to turn that score around, although coach Ernesto Valverde will make changes in central midfielder, with the ineffective Fernando Gago dropped, while he will also look to strengthen both full back positions.
The bad news for Valencia is that Spain international striker Roberto Soldado is injured for the game, while Madrid’s only absences are the injured Pepe and the suspended Sergio Ramos.
Wednesday also sees Sevilla take on Zaragoza in a finely balanced tie after a 0-0 draw in the first leg. The match will be the first home game for new Sevilla coach, Unai Emery, who has already led his side to two draws away from their Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium.
Barca are in Malaga on Thursday and kick off knowing they need to score at least one goal after the 2-2 draw in the Camp Nou last week.
Barca coach Tito Vilanova will not be at the game as he is undergoing further medical treatment in the US, but his side will take heart from the fact they produced a magnificent display to win 3-1 in Malaga just 10 days ago.
Balanced against that is the fact the side suffered its first league defeat of the season, away to Real Sociedad, on Saturday night and Barca want a good result to put a rapid end to talk of crisis. Meanwhile Jose Pinto will play in goal with Victor Valdes on the subs’ bench, while David Villa could return to the squad after missing the past fortnight through injury.
Friday also sees Atletico Madrid defend a 2-0 lead away to Betis. Atletico are favorites although they will be without top scorer Radamel Falaco, who has a muscle problem.