Tuesday, January 31, 2012

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01.02. (Wed) 21:00 Valencia - Barcelona

Liga BBVA: Málaga-Barcelona: Lionel Messi



Barragan, Rami, Ruiz, Mathieu
Albelda, T Costa
Feghouli, Jonas, Alba

Alves, Pique, Puyol, Abidal
Xavi, Busquets,
Sanchez, Messi, Adriano

Valencia boss Unai Emery has something of an injury crisis heading into Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final clash with Barcelona, with Mehmet Topal (concussion) and Ever Banega (thigh strain) rated doubtful to feature after being taken off the field of play in Sunday's bruising 2-2 draw at Racing Santander.

Defensive duo Miguel and Adil Rami are also nursing knocks, although the latter is likely to play, while Aritz Aduriz has been declared fit after suffering a blow to the head against Racing.

The visitors have injury problems of their own, however, with Pedro and Andres Iniesta both ruled out with thigh problems.

The duo join long-term absentees David Villa, Ibrahim Afellay and Andreu Fontas in the treatment room, while Seydou Keita is competing with Mali at the African Cup of Nations.

On a positive note for Pep Guardiola's side, Alexis Sanchez has made a speedy recovery from the collarbone injury he sustained in Wednesday's Clasico against Real Madrid, and is expected to start at the Mestalla.

Defender Gerard Pique is also expected to feature, having trained normally on Monday after coming off with a knee problem in Saturday's goalless draw at Villarreal.


  • Valencia have a solid record at Mestalla this season, having won all but five of their games there in all competitions, and losing just two.
  • Los Che and Barcelona last met each other in the Copa del Rey in the semi-final stage in 2008, which the Mestalla club won 4-3 on aggregate before going on to lift the cup with victory against Getafe in the final.
  • However, that was the last time Valencia came out on top against the Catalan club, and they are yet to beat the reigning European champions in seven attempts under Unai Emery.
  • Barcelona are the most successful club in Copa del Rey history, having won the tournament 25 times.
  • Argentine superstar Lionel Messi (pictured) leads the Catalan club's goalscoring charts this season with 36 strikes.
  • Despite their stuttering league form on the road this season, Barcelona have won all three of their away games in the Copa del Rey.
Valencia will be encouraged by their opponents' poor form on the road, but unsurprisingly, they are the underdogs here. While the Catalans have struggled in some of the less glamorous away fixtures, they invariably raise their game for the big occasions, and should be able to get the win they need to put a frustrating week behind them.
Editor's Prediction
Valencia 1-2 Barcelona