The 1/4 finals of the King’s Cup starts this Wednesday. Last week, the quarter-final draw took place, which resulted in the formation of two pairs of teams of approximately equal opportunities and two, where a really fierce struggle will unfold.
Open this stage of the playoffs is not the most principled match. January 25 at 22.00 Moscow time at the stadium “Reino de Navarra” the club from Pamplona “Osasuna” from the 7th place in the La Liga standings will meet with “Sevilla” from the 15th.
The Reds are fighting for European qualification this season. But the team has problems: as long as they score, they concede the same amount. Although it was Osasuna in the 1/8 finals that eliminated the reigning champion of this tournament, the Real Betis team, from the Copa del Rey equation. Sevilla, on the other hand, performs in the championship below expectations and balances on the border with the relegation zone. But in recent matches, the “red-whites” seem to have adjusted the game, so in the King’s Cup they have good chances to realize all their ambitions.
Sevilla have won the Copa del Rey 5 times, most recently in the 2009/10 season, but Osasuna have never won this trophy.
This game day will end at 23.00 Moscow time with a tense match at the Camp Nou. Barcelona will meet here, leading the standings of Examples, and Real Sociedad, who have obtained third place in the championship this season. As part of the Copa del Rey, both teams go smoothly and without losses, not a single draw – only victories. But the statistics of the last meetings of the “blue garnet” and “white-blue” in La Liga matches for the Basques is not so positive – the Catalans usually turn out to be stronger. But the team of Imanol Alguasil should not be discounted, Real Sociedad is now on the verge of having six consecutive victories in the Example. The Basques are resolutely set up for the Cup, the club is one of the three most pressing in the championship, so we are waiting for vigorous and productive football. The only thing is that after the meeting with Barcelona, the White-Blues will have a no less exhausting match in La Liga with another of its leaders – the Real Madrid team.
So, Imanol Alguasil will have to set his priorities right.
By the way, the Catalan club – the record holder of the Spanish Cup – has 31 trophies to its credit and the last one was won in the 2020/21 season. But Real Sociedad is only a three-time winner of the Copa del Rey (the last cup went to the club in the 2019/20 season), which means that the Basques should have more motivation.
On January 26, there will also be two meetings in the 1/4 finals of the Spanish Cup.
At 22.00 Moscow time at the Mestalla stadium, Valencia will take on Athletic Bilbao from 8th from 13th place in the standings. The Bats, despite a decent game with Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup, are still failing the season in the Example, and the King’s Cup for the wards of the eccentric Gennaro Gattuso is the last chance not to fail him completely. Athletic also do not perform well in La Liga, but in the Basque King’s Cup they show great stability. The fact that the head coach of the Lions, Ernesto Valverde, is a big fan of the Copa del Rey, plays into the hands of the team. Athletic’s mentor won this tournament both as a player and as a coach. True, with another team – Barcelona.
Valencia has 8 King’s Cups, the last time the Bats won it in the 2018/19 season. But Athletic Bilbao won this trophy 24 times, but they got the last title a very long time ago – in 1984.
At 23.00 Moscow time at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, perhaps the most striking game of this quarter-final will take place – the Madrid derby – Real Madrid (2nd place in the Example) against Atlético Madrid (4th place in La Liga). The team of Carlo Ancelotti, of course, is the favorite of the meeting, and the factor of their stadium also plays in favor of the “creamy”. But the wards of Diego Simeone finally got excited and reinforcement arrived in the face of Memphis Depay. In addition, in recent games, Antoine Griezmann jumps above his head – the striker is 24 goals away from the title of top scorer in the history of Atlético Madrid. The Rojiblancos are now in a good way angry and on time – at stake is a ticket to the semi-finals, which the team needs more than ever. And since the opponent “mattress” got more than principled, we are definitely waiting for a match with an abundance of fouls and “red” with “yellow” cards. You can hardly count on the “whites” in this game.
Real Madrid have won the Copa del Rey 19 times, the last in the 2013/14 season. Atlético Madrid have 10 cups and the last time they won a trophy was in 2013, right before the cream. By the way, this season the Rojiblancos reached the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey for the first time since 2017.