Preview: Alcoyano vs. Real Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups

Alcoyano face one of the biggest games in the club's 92-year history when they welcome none other than Real Madrid to the Estadio El Collao for Wednesday's Copa del Rey third-round encounter.

The third-tier hosts have already beaten Laredo and Huesca en route to the last 32, while Los Blancos head into this fixture on the back of Spanish Super Cup disappointment.

Match preview

Alcoyano's 4,850-seater stadium will sadly not be able to host their ardent supporters for this David vs. Goliath encounter, but Wednesday's game with Real Madrid promises to be a magnificent occasion for the third-tier side nonetheless.

Vicente Parras's men eased past Laredo in round one before hosting La Liga's basement team Huesca earlier this month, where goals from Jorge Molto and Mourad El Ghezouani either side of Jaime Seoane's equaliser saw the third-tier outfit set up a behemoth of a match with the Spanish champions.

That victory over Huesca represented Alcoyano's fourth win on the bounce in all competitions and they stretched it to five with a 2-1 victory at Valencia II on January 10, but their winning run came to an abrupt end on Sunday as they played out a goalless stalemate with Hercules CF.

However, a second successive promotion is certainly on the cards for Parras's side, who currently occupy a spot in the top three in Group 3B of Segunda Division B, and they must prioritise their league fortunes with the weekend's visit of Orihuela - who are hot on their trail - to come.

For now, though, Alcoyano will simply relish the opportunity to test their capabilities against the champions of Spain having already recorded their best finish in the Copa del Rey since the 2014-15 season, where they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Athletic Bilbao in the fourth round.

By comparison, Real Madrid's form makes for bleak reading for the Blancos faithful, who have witnessed their side come up trumps just once in their last four matches across all competitions.

Zinedine Zidane's crop relinquished their Spanish Super Cup to Athletic Bilbao, who overcame the 2019-20 champions 2-1 in the semi-final before beating Barcelona in Sunday's final to take the trophy home.

Real Madrid had no answer to Raul Garcia's first-half double as one potential piece of silverware passed them by, and they had also lost more ground on local rivals Atletico Madrid in the La Liga title race following draws with Elche and Osasuna.

It is a worrying omen for Zidane, but certainly no reason to panic, and Real will be determined to record a convincing victory over Alcoyano - even with a much-changed side - before the weekend's top-flight clash with Deportivo Alaves.

Real Madrid and Alcoyano most recently went head-to-head in the 2012-13 Copa del Rey, and Los Blancos eased to a 7-1 aggregate victory over the minnows in that fourth-round battle.

Alcoyano Copa del Rey form: WW
Alcoyano form (all competitions): WWWWWD

Real Madrid form: WWDWDL

Team News

Alcoyano will be without the services of injured duo Manuel Raillo and Ruben Garces, but Parras otherwise has everyone available for the visit of Real.

The hosts' team boasts a healthy mix of youth and experience, with 35-year-old Jony Niguez - brother of Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul - set to feature in the engine room, while 41-year-old Jose Figueras starts in goal.

Jona was ineligible to face Hercules but will return for this one, and he is set to battle Juli for a start up top alongside El Ghezouani.

As mentioned, Zidane will be expected to ring the changes for their inaugural Copa del Rey game of the season, giving Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos a chance to rest following injury concerns after the semi-final defeat to Athletic.

A complete overhaul in defence could see Andriy Lunin start in goal with Alvaro Odriozola, Eder Militao, Nacho Fernandez and Marcelo completing the rearguard.

Federico Valverde and Isco will both be vying for spots in the midfield, while the probable inclusions of Mariano Diaz and Vinicius Junior could leave Casemiro and Marco Asensio as the sole survivors from Thursday's defeat.

Alcoyano possible starting lineup:
Figueras; Sanchez, Gonzalez, Ferriz, Carbonnell; Camacho, Casanova, Niguez, Lopez; El Ghezouani, Jona

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Lunin; Odriozola, Militao, Fernandez, Marcelo; Casemiro, Valverde, Isco; Asensio, Diaz, Vinicius Junior

Source: Sports Mole / Matt Law 




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