Copa del Rey: Valencia vs Barcelona preview


Giants Barcelona visit Valencia at Mestalla Stadium on Thursday for a match that will decide which of the two teams qualifies for the Spanish Cup final this season. The first leg of the semi-final tie was won 1-0 by Barcelona last week thanks to a second-half goal from Luis Suarez, but Valencia are definitely capable of turning things around. The two teams have also met in LaLiga in November and Valencia managed to hold Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at Mestalla. Overall, Barcelona have won three of the last six direct matches.

Valencia are going through an injury crisis, which has affected their results quite badly. They have lost their last five matches in all competitions and have dropped to third place in LaLiga. The Spanish Cup might not seem that important for Valencia right now given the circumstances, but a good result against Barcelona would surely boost morale at the club. Andreas Pereira is out injured, while Goncalo Guedes and Jeison Murillo are struggling to recover from their own injuries.

Barcelona are having a dominant season, they have lost just one match in all competitions and seem headed towards another title in LaLiga since they lead second-placed Atletico Madrid by nine points. However, last weekend they were held to a 1-1 draw by Espanyol and if they get complacent they might face more such upsets until the end of the season. Ousmane Dembele is out injured again, while Gerard Pique and Thomas Vermaelen could recover in time for Thursday's game.

Probable line-ups:

Valencia: Domenech - Montoya, Paulista, Garay, Gaya - Soler, Parejo, Kondogbia, Lato - Mina, Moreno

Barcelona: Cillessen - Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba - Rakitic, Paulinho, Busquets, Iniesta - Messi, Suarez

My prediction: 2-2 draw.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Valencia win - 5.00
Draw - 4.33
Barcelona win - 1.57

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