La Copa Match Centre 

Copa del Rey Preview – Thursday

Barcelona vs Celta Vigo is the pick of the ties on Thursday night as the Copa del Rey last 16 comes to an end.

The two sides drew 1-1 in the first leg at Balaidos last week when Pione Sisto cancelled out Jose Arnaiz’s opener for Barca setting it up perfectly for the second leg at the Camp Nou.

This will be the second time they have met in Catalonia this season after a 2-2 draw in the league.

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde had this to say about the match. “Our intention is to dominate the game but they also like to have the ball and play their football. They put pressure on you high up the field, we saw that in the first leg.

They have already shown that they will not concede a millimetre of ground. Celta can play in several ways, not just on the counter. We want to create chances, it’s all or nothing, only one team will go through.”

Juan Carlos Unzue shut down any suggestions of man marking Lionel Messi.

“I don’t feel like employing man marking on him for 90 minutes, even though some coaches have tried it. In a given moment you could man Messi to make him uncomfortable but what about the rest of them? With Iniesta, Suarez, Dembele and others? That’s why I think more about teamwork.”

Barcelona Squad: Ter Stegen, Cillessen: Semedo, Pique, Mascherano, Alba, Digne, Roberto, Vermaelen; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Paulinho, Gomes, Alena; Arnaiz, Messi, Suarez, Dembele

Celta Vigo Squad: Sergio, Ruben, Villar; Mallo, Jonny, Roncaglia, Sergi Gomez, Fontas, Cabral, Mazan; Radoja, Lobotka, Hernandez, Mendez, Wass, Jozabed, Hjulsager; Sisto, Aspas, More, Maxi Gomez

 

In the early set of kick offs there is an all La Liga clash at the Ciutat de Valencia between Levante and Espanyol.

The hosts go into the game with a 2-1 lead from the first leg with goals from Jose Morales and Ivi responding to Gerard Moreno’s opener for Espanyol with Levante favourites to make the quarter final.

Espanyol boss Quique Sanchez Flores knows what his side has to do, and had this to say at his press conference.

“The idea is to compete well and score first, which is what puts us in the tie, which gives us chances to pass. I see the team well, positive, capable of facing it, but the only absolute truth is that we are losing the tie. You have to go out and play it. We already said it would be a long and tough elimination. “

Levante Squad: Raul, Oier; Tono, Rober, Chema, Cabaco, Coke, Shaq; Garcia, Jefferson, Bardhi, Morales, Lukic, Jason, Campana; Ivi, Mesa, Boateng

Espanyol Squad: Pau Lopez, Diego Lopez, Dominguez; Navarro, Martin, Naldo, Vila, Javi Lopez, David Lopez, Hermoso; Jurado, Melendo, Fuego, Roca, Granero, Darder, Moreno, Garcia, Baptistao

 

Sevilla take a two goal lead into their second leg at home to second tier Cadiz.

Nolito and Jesus Navas scored in the first half as well as Sergio Rico’s penalty save from Salva Sanchez give the La Liga side a clear advantage but Cadiz will hope to copy what they did in the last round when they overturned a first leg deficit to beat Sevilla’s city rivals Real Betis 5-3 at the Villamarin.

Sevilla Squad: Rico, Soria; Corchia, Carole, Kjaer, Lenglet, Mercado; Banega, Geis, Pizarro, N’Zonzi, Sarabia, Navas, Vazquez; Ben Yedder, Correa, Muriel, Nolito

Cadiz Squad: Yanez, Gil; Correa, Kecojevic, Servando, Brian, Eugeni,Tur; Sergio, Abdullah, Traore, Nico, Aitor, Momo, Alex, Carillo; Barral, Alvaro

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