Copa Del Rey: Valencia vs Barcelona - Preview, TV Channel Info,Team News, Prediction, Betting Odds
In-form Barcelona aim to put the finishing touches to their Copa Del Rey semi-final tie when they travel to the Mestalla to take on the hard-pressed Valencia this Wednesday. Having pulverized Gary Neville’s side by 7-0 in the first leg at Camp Nou last week, the Catalans are left with little to do in the reverse, but will look to complete the formality game in some style.
Kickoff and Live Telecast
Date and Time: February 11, 2016 – 01:30 AM (IST)
Live Telecast: There will be no live telecast of the game in India.
Venue: Mestalla stadium, Valencia.
Doubts remain over the fitness of Barcelona ace Lionel Messi, who faced medical tests after kidney complaints, but returned to training on Tuesday. The young guns Sergi Samper, Gerard Gumbau, Wilfrid Kaptoum, Juan Camara and Dani Romera all trained with the senior squad and are in line to feature. Rafinha remains the only long term absentee for the visitors.
Valencia welcomed back Paco Alcacer and Enzo Perez to training after their lay-off with ankle and facial injury respectively, and may play a part in the leg. The hosts however, will be without defender Shkodran Mustafi, after the German's red card in the first leg at Camp Nou.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegan; Vidal, Pique, Mascherano, Mathieu; Rakitic, Roberto, Arda; Messi, Suarez, Munir.
Valencia (4-5-1): Ryan; Barragan, Santos, Abdennour, Siqueira; Parejo, Mina; Feghouli, Gomes, Cheryshev; Negredo.
Valencia enter the tie in their lowest ebb. A run of 11 games without a win was only compounded by a defeat at the hands of the lowly Real Betis at El Molinon at the weekend that puts manager Gary Neville on the brink and their season in a deep jeopardy.
Los Che were humiliated by Barcelona last week in the Copa Del Rey which means they are certainly eliminated from the competition, but also languish 14th in the table and 12 points adrift of European places.
Neville has been unsuccessful so far in his first managerial stint and any further damage could see himself getting the boot.
Last 5 matches: D-W-L-L-L (Last result: Real Betis 1-0 Valencia)
In a very contrasting set of fortunes, Barcelona come into the fray on the back of 28 games unbeaten, just one short of setting a new club record, and with also a colossal 7 goal advantage. The holders clinically dispatched the hapless Valencia side last week to all but book a place in the finals, and will aim to bounce back after a very unconvincing outing against bottom club Levante at the weekend.
Last 5 matches: W-W-W-W-W (Last result: Levante 0-2 Barcelona)
- Barcelona haven’t lost to Valencia in the last 11 visits to the Mestella.
- Barcelona have been defeated by Valencia only once in the last 20 official meetings.
- Barring the 0-0 draw away at Espanyol on 2nd Jan, the Catalans have won every other game this year.
- Sporting Gijon (La Liga), Olympique Lyon (Champions League) and Zenit St.Petersburg (Champions League) are the only three teams to beat Valencia at home this season.
- Barcelona have not lost any semi-final game in the Copa Del Rey since the 3-1 humbling by Real Madrid back in 2013.
Antonio Barragan vs Luis Suarez
One of the most in-form strikers in the continent, Luis Suarez bagged a super hat-trick in the first leg and will be all charged to rack a few more after netting a late winner at Levante on Sunday. The Uruguayan has accrued an astounding 36 goals this campaign in 31 appearances, and on current form, looks set to breach the 50-goal mark.
The burly striker possesses great finishing in the final third and can also lay assists for his team-mates. His eye for goal makes him hot to trot, and has the ability to take defences apart single-handedly.
Going head-to-head in the game’s duel with him is right-back Antonio Barragan, who has slotted into the defence seamlessly. The Spanish fullback was a fringe player under Santos, but has become a regular in Valencia’s team-sheet, displacing Jose Cancelo from his spot. The defender faces the monumental task of going against the might of Suarez and needs to obstruct his movements to prevent him from having an influence in the game.
After the first leg shellacking, Valencia are virtually out of contention, but may go hell for leather in the home comfort to salvage some pride. Yet, the might of Barcelona is too big for their britches.
Predicted score: Valencia 1-2 Barcelona
Betting Odds (bet365)
Valencia – 4/1
Draw – 11/4
Barcelona – 5/2