Injuries an issue for Real Madrid while Barca face long trip in Copa del Rey

(Xinhua) 10:58, January 19, 2023

MADRID, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- Real Madrid have to overcome a long injury list and tired legs while FC Barcelona face a long journey to north Africa in their Copa del Rey ties on Thursday night.

Newly crowned Spanish Super Cup winners Barcelona face third-tier strugglers Ceuta, with a trip that involves a helicopter journey from the south coast of Spain to the Spanish enclave on the coast of Morocco.

Barca struggled in the last round and needed extra time to get past fellow third-tier side CF Intercity in the last round, but coach Xavi Hernandez can be expected to make sweeping changes to the team that beat Real Madrid 3-1 in Riyadh on Sunday night.

Inaki Pena will play in goal, while players such as Eric Garcia, Hector Bellerin, Ansu Fati, Raphinha and Pablo Torre can all expect to start.

Real Madrid hardly have time to lick their wounds and recover tired legs before they travel to Villarreal for what looks like the toughest tie of the round.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti saw right-back Dani Carvajal added to his injury list on Tuesday, joining the already-sidelined Lucas Vazquez, David Alaba and Aurelien Tchouameni.

Luka Modric looked shattered during the Super Cup final and he was not the only player well below his best, with Antonio Rudiger and Toni Kroos also disappointing.

Nacho Fernandez will probably start at right-back, while Dani Ceballos could also find himself in the team if Ancelotti wants to rest Kroos for the weekend visit to Athletic Bilbao.

Villarreal beat Real Madrid 2-1 in La Liga less than two weeks ago, and their players are much better rested, with Gerard Moreno returning to form.

The Yellow Submarine have turned things around under Quique Setien and are unbeaten in seven games in all competitions, and it would be no surprise to see them repeat the result on Thursday.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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