Copa del Rey Round of 32 preview: Cornella vs. Barcelona (Thu - 21:00h. CET; 20:00h. GMT) - Team news, possible lineups

Barcelona will be looking to bounce back immediately from their Spanish Super Cup disappointment when they travel to third-tier side Cornella for Thursday's Copa del Rey bout.

The hosts will not make life easy for Ronald Koeman's men, though, as they overcame La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid to reach the third round.

Match preview

A second-string Atletico team boasting the likes of Joao Felix, Saul Niguez and Lucas Torreira fell to Cornella in the second round of the Copa del Rey, with defender Adrian Jimenez netting the only goal of the game within the opening six minutes.

Having already pulled off one giant killing in this season's tournament, third-tier Cornella have been rewarded with a battle against another behemoth of the Spanish game as they attempt to defy the odds on their own turf once more.

Guillermo Fernandez's side have never advanced past the fourth round of the Copa del Rey - with Real Madrid knocking them out at that stage in the 2014-15 season - but the minnows command a tremendous amount of respect after dumping Atletico out of the tournament, with a clean sheet to boot.

Another 1-0 triumph over Marino in the first round means that Cornella are yet to ship a goal in this season's competition - a stark contrast to their Segunda B form after their winless league run stretched to six matches at the weekend with a 2-2 draw at Olot.

Fernandez's side are flirting with relegation in the third tier, so while the visit of Barcelona should be given the attention that such a momentous occasion deserves, their league fortunes will undoubtedly take precedence over an unlikely cup run.

A first-ever red card for Lionel Messi in his Barcelona career epitomised the Catalan giants' night against Athletic, who lifted the Spanish Super Cup after a 3-2 win over Koeman's side in extra time, with Iñaki Williams scoring a delightful winner at the Estadio de La Cartuja.

Defeat on Sunday evening ended La Blaugrana's four-game winning run across all competitions - as well as preventing them from going 10 games unbeaten - and denied Koeman his maiden piece of silverware in the Camp Nou dugout.

However, there is no denying that Barca have improved significantly over the past couple of months and they are now firmly in the mix with La Liga's title hopefuls, although Atletico do boast a seven-point lead over Koeman's side having played two fewer matches.

Nevertheless, Barcelona can take solace from the fact that they have not been knocked out of the Copa del Rey by lower-league opposition since the 2004-05 campaign, and victory here would see them maintain their 100% record on the road since the turn of the year.

Thursday's game represents the inaugural meeting between Barcelona and Cornella, and having witnessed the third-tier side send Atletico packing, Koeman's men cannot afford to go into this game expecting an easy route into the fourth round.

Cornella Copa del Rey form: WW
Cornella form (all competitions): LWLWDD

Barcelona form (all competitions): DWWWWL

Team News

The hero of Cornella's victory over Atletico - Adrian Jimenez - tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a league fixture with Gimnastic last weekend and will sadly be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Should Fernandez opt to switch to the 5-3-2 system which worked wonders against the La Liga leaders, Albert Estelles would be a candidate to fill the void left by Jimenez's absence.

Birmingham City loanees Agus Medina and Ivan Guzman could both be in line for starts in one of the biggest games in Cornella's 70-year history.

Messi could reportedly be facing a 12-game ban for lashing out at Athletic's Asier Villalibre in Sunday's defeat, and while the length of his suspension is yet to be determined, he will definitely not be available here.

It would have been a surprise to see the wantaway Argentine line up on Thursday anyway as wholesale changes are expected from Koeman, starting with Martin Braithwaite and Trincao enjoying starts up top.

Second-choice goalkeeper Neto should be given a run-out here, while out-of-favour defenders such as Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo and the young Oscar Mingueza will be vying for starts.

Miralem Pjanic and Riqui Puig both came off the bench in the defeat to Athletic and are likely to feature from the off in Koeman's midfield this week.

Cornella possible starting lineup:
Juan; Guzman, Moreno, Garcia, Estelles, Prieto; Medina, Presa, Gila; Ontiveros, Fernandez

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Neto; Mingueza, Umtiti, Araujo, Firpo; Pjanic, Puig; Trincao, Pedri, Griezmann; Braithwaite

Source: Sports Mole / Ben Knapton 


Older Post
Newer Post

Leave a comment

Close (esc)


Use this popup to embed a mailing list sign up form. Alternatively use it as a simple call to action with a link to a product or a page.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.


Ticket Booking

You do not have any bookings at the moment.
Browse Football Matches