SportsThe Copa del Rey leaves four classics in three months

    The Copa del Rey leaves four classics in three months

    Chance provided the Royal Spanish Football Federation with another two classics, after the future of the Arabian Super Cup finally led, in the fourth edition, to a Real Madrid-Barcelona final. The balls chosen by the coach, Luis de la Fuente, yesterday matched the teams of Carlo Ancelotti and Xavi Hernandez in one of the semifinals of the Copa del Rey, while in the other they crossed the neighboring Osasuna and Athletic.

    The new classic, double, because the semifinals are the only round-trip cup tie, caused a small shake-up in the calendar due to the commitments of both teams (Club World Cup and Europa League), so that the matches will not be played in the dates scheduled when the competition began, but somewhat later. The first legs, at the Bernabeu and El Sadar, will be played between February 28 and March 2, and the return leg, between April 4 and 6.

    At a time when Barca is in full reconstruction and Madrid in the middle of its transition, the classics are touchstones with which to verify the solidity of the advances. Between the first leg and the return leg, one more will be played at the Camp Nou, on March 19. Four classics in three months, from the Super Cup final.

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    In the case of Barcelona, ​​the first two of the season have decisively marked Xavi’s project after that preseason friendly in July in Las Vegas that ended with a goal from Raphinha. They have been the worst and the best of Barca. The defeat at the Bernabeu, the only one for Barcelona in the League, seriously questioned the plans of the Barca coach after losing 3-1 with a lineup that included two wingers —Raphinha and Dembele— and Araujo was missing. The coach corrected himself in the Super Cup final when he got the Uruguayan back to defend Vinicius and gave up forming with the three forwards to win a midfielder and have a line on which Barcelona football is based: Pedri, Busquets, De Jong and Gavi. Xavi’s credibility and the confidence of the team were forged after the 1-3 loss in Riyadh. That game appears as the expression on the field of the ideology of the coach proclaimed in the press room of the Barca sports city. The numbers support the Catalans even more because today they lead the championship with five points over Madrid.

    Xavi then boasted of “how we won” and congratulated himself because the players “have freed themselves” after the hardships at the Camp Nou. The formula has been applied in most of the most demanding matches and it is supposed to be the one that will also be used in the Cup semifinal. The doubt is in the players that will be available and, at this moment, it is not yet known if Dembele He will be able to play – it is very doubtful for the first leg and less for the return of the Camp Nou -. And, on the other hand, the format will condition the classic because the cup match will be played in two games and “in two games you have a little control, more strategy” argued the technical secretary Jordi Cruyff. “You never know how it will end. Today we are close to being able to celebrate a title, with the utmost respect but with the greatest enthusiasm”, he added. “I fell in love with the single-match qualifiers. It’s going to be a great match, super special, worldwide”, he finished after remembering that “the players have already forgotten what happened a month ago. We start from scratch and it will be a beautiful battle. The Super Cup will not be thought of”.

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    For Madrid, the Riyadh classic was the lowest point of the course, a shipwreck in which they found themselves shaken by Barcelona in the face of Ancelotti’s despair, who felt that his players had not even competed: “It was a bad game in everything”. As a side effect, the bump in the Super Cup fueled interest in the Cup, generally of low intensity, among the whites. Although their destiny did not change until the break of the round of 16 in Vila-real, when they were two goals behind (2-0).

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    That cup comeback marked the point from which Madrid began to find the solidity that Ancelotti demanded through commitment. The improvement continued with another comeback in the quarterfinals against Atletico (3-1) and the good game in the League against Real, despite the tie (0-0).

    The classic of the first leg of the semifinal will verify the consistency of Madrid’s recovery in ten days of maximum demand: on February 21 they visit Anfield in the first leg of the Champions League, five days later they receive Atletico at the Bernabeu and five days later , to Barca in the Cup. The classic always as a thermometer for both.

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    Source: EL PAIS

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