The scheduling for this month's Copa del Rey quarter finals has not gone down well in San Sebastián. LaLiga have fixed the first leg of Real Sociedad's tie against Barcelona for Thursday 19 January with kick-off at 21.15 hours - the slot selected by broadcasters GOL who will transmit the match live on free-to-air. However, that night, on the stroke of midnight, the city of San Sebastián will be raising their flag in the Plaza de la Constitución to herald the start of 'San Sebastián Day' - when they celebrate their patron saint with La Tamborrada drum parade - the city's biggest and most important day of the year for everyone in the capital of Guipuzcoa.
Real Sociedad knew that they would be handed the Thursday slot, as they play their LaLiga Week 18 meeting away at Málaga on Monday night. What has annoyed the club is that before the draw was made, they specifically requested for their game to be played at an earlier hour, should they be the first club out of the pot - meaning they would have to play the first leg at Anoeta. That way, fans would have time to leave the stadium well before the start of the Tamborrada, reducing the risk of incidents. But their petition fell on deaf ears at LaLiga. The public isn't happy at all with the late kick-off as it also spoils their plans - traditionally on the eve of San Sebastián Day, families go out ton dinner before making their way to the Plaza de la Constitución for the start of the festivities.
La Real have been so put out by the scheduling that the club has even aplogisied to their fans on social media for the inconvenience the tie will cause and the disruption of the city's big day. The Basque side already will be disadvantaged by the fact that Barça play their league game against Las Palmas, at home, on Saturday afternoon which means they will have more than 48 hours extra to rest ahead of Thursday's tie. Eusebio's team also have a mounting injury list with Carlos Vela, Zaldua, Raúl Navas and Markel Bergara all carrying injuries of varying degrees. But Eusebio, who will be facing his old club for the second time in less than two months, can take heart in the last time these two clubs met on the eve of San Sebastián Day - no one in Donostia will ever forget that meeting on 19th January 2013 when the Basque side bounced back from going 0-2 down to win the match 3-2...