La Copa Match Centre 

Copa del Rey Preview – Thursday

The Copa del Rey round of 32 first legs come to an end on Thursday with five more games across the night.

Real Madrid make their bow in the tournament with a trip across the city to face third tier Fuenlabrada.

Los Blancos go into the game on the back of a 3-0 win over Eibar last Sunday and are of course clear favourites to get past their hosts comfortably, with Zinedine Zidane clear with his intentions to win the cup this year.

“Winning the cup isn’t something personal, it’s a team thing. We’re excited to play in it, as we like to play in every competition. I don’t consider it a minor trophy, for me it’s one of the trophies that we can win and that’s our intention. Our ambition is to win it because we can.”

Fuenlabrada coach Antonio Calderon said in his press conference on Wednesday that the rise in media action surrounding the club due to the tie, hasn’t affected his players.

“This morning we have had more interviews, but the team is perfect, and after a couple of days we have to recover because on Sunday we have to focus on the league.”

Deportivo and Las Palmas will clash twice in five days in league and cup with the first of those meetings taking place at the Riazor at 7:30pm UK time.

The two sides are separated by just two points in the league with their meeting on Monday arguably more important than Thursday’s game as avoiding relegation is the main priority.

Nevertheless the game should still be intriguing with Las Palmas having recently replace Manolo Marquiez with Pako Ayestaran and Depor sacking manager Pepe Mel earlier this week.

Ayestaran also believes that the cup can be a turning point for his side; “The cup is sometimes a turning point to recover feelings. we give importance to this competition. After several continuous defeats everything becomes complicated, but then the team is encouraged and we are convinced that we will take off.”

Another all La Liga tie sees Girona and Levante face off at the Montilivi.

The hosts are in good spirits ahead of this match after a 2-1 win at Deportivo on Monday night lifted them up on to nine points, just two behind Levante as well as Athletic and tenth place Celta.

Both managers have stated that the league is their main objective but that they will go out with the aim of winning this tie.

As well as Girona, two more Catalan teams take to the pitch tonight with Espanyol travelling to face Tenerife and Segunda B side Lleida Esportiu hosting La Liga high flyers Real Sociedad.

Los Pericos are in good form in La Liga losing just twice in their last seven games away at the hands of Real Madrid and Barcelona but will still face a tough test at the islanders of Tenerife who currently sit ninth in La Liga 1|2|3.

Real Sociedad games in the league this season have included a massive 38 goals making their games arguably the most exciting to watch in the league and they will hope to notch a few more in Thursday’s first leg at the Camp D’Esports.

Lleida find themselves third in the Segunda B Divison III but as shown on Wednesday by Elche and Formentera, two sides lower than Lleida in Divison III, they can be full of confidence going into the tie against higher tier opposition of getting something from the game.

Thursday’s Games (Kick-Offs UK Time)

6:30pm  Lleida Esportiu vs Real Sociedad                                               7:30pm  Deportivo la Coruna vs Las Palmas                                       7:30pm  Girona vs Levante                                                                   8:30pm  Fuenlabrada vs Real Madrid                                                 8:30pm  Tenerfie vs Espanyol

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