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Real Madrid to face giant-killers Alcoyano in Copa del Rey rematch

Twelve
months after being humiliated 2-1 by the low-budget team that hails from a
small town close to Alicante, Real will return to the El Collao stadium for a
re-match that will take place in front of a full house of 4,850 fans. Last year
fans were barred from witnessing Alcoyano’s giant-killing victory due to the
restrictions that were in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

“If we
did it once, we can do it again,” Alcoyano captain Juli Cerda told a news
conference.

“We
know that we will see a Real with hurt feelings and there will be no surprise
factor like last year. They probably did learn their lesson but this time we
will have our fans and they will face a completely different environment.”

Coach Carlo
Ancelotti’s final line-up has yet to be decided after he confirmed Vinicius Jr,
Ferland Mendy, Thibaut Courtois, Luka Modric and Karim Benzema will not make
the trip down south.

Champions
Barcelona will travel to Andalucia to face another third-tier team, Linares
Deportivo.

Xavi
Hernandez’s team beat Mallorca 1-0 on Sunday despite missing 14 players due to
COVID-19, injuries and suspensions — and he will once again have to rely on a
depleted squad to keep alive their title defence.

Xavi had
hoped Pedri would be able to make his comeback following a long injury layoff
but those plans have had to be put on ice after the 19-year-old midfielder
tested positive for COVID-19.

He is the
14th Barcelona player to test positive in recent days.

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“It’s a
complicated task to go at a small stadium, in a single game elimination
match,” Xavi told a press conference. “Every year we see first-tier
teams being eliminated. We have to be careful. We are the champions and want to
repeat.”

On Thursday,
Atletico will face third-tier neighbours Rayo Majadahonda in their own
68,000-capacity Wanda Metropolitano stadium even though they had been drawn to
play away.

However,
Majadahonda asked the Spanish Federation to switch the game to a bigger arena
as they usually host their matches at Atletico’s training facilities, which has
a capacity of around 3,500.

Current Spanish
regulations state that venues with over 5,000 capacity can be only 75 percent
full in order to control the spread of COVID-19.

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