Copa del Rey semis see Barça-Valencia & Leganés-Sevilla
The Copa del Rey reaches it's penultimate stage with two appetizing semi-finals to look forward to after yesterday's draw at the Spanish FA. Barça face Valencia and Leganés take on Sevilla. The first game sees competition favourites Barcelona against a newly improved Valencia under Marcelino. Two classic teams in the Spanish game who are no strangers in cup competitions and I remember a particular enthralling game at Mestalla between both sides in the now defunct Cup Winners Cup where Mario Kempes delivered a sterling performance. The other tie sees surprise package Leganes face Sevilla, who seem to have found their stride under new coach Montella.
King of cups
Sevilla have impressed in both cup games in January against Cadiz and Atletico respectively in a competition that has seen plenty of upsets despite the two legged format. Athletic's elimination at the hands of Formentera, was a jolt for one of the club's with a strong tradition in the Spanish Cup. Basque neighbours Real Sociedad also came a cropper to lower league opposition with 2B outfit Lleida providing another shock. The "kings of the cup" Barça have fielded strong teams in all stages of the competition and despite the away game in Vigo featuring some less familiar faces, for the return leg, unlike Zidane, Valverde was astute enough to call upon his star names to see the Catalan side advance.
Shocks and surprises
Question marks still linger in the minds of many Real Madrid fans after Wednesday's cup exit and now more than ever the Champions League tie against PSG is a make or bust game for the club and in particular Zinedine Zidane. In the meantime the league marches on and at this stage of proceedings, the outfit from the Bernabeu's key objective is to ensure a fourth place finish as they currently lie just point ahead of Villarreal in fifth. Madrid do have a game in hand which will be played in February as they revisit Butarque to face their cup conquerors. Surprises and shocks are part of parcel in football and key why the sport is so popular but I'm sure no-one envisaged Real Madrid in this predicament at the outset of the current season back in August 2017.
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