After many years of complaining about the boring Copa del Rey, this year it has been changed. Only the semifinals will have a home and away leg; all the other rounds will be decided via one match. If it’s tied at the end of regulation, it goes to extra time, if it’s still tied then, it goes to penalties.
And, without going into all the details of the draw, we’re now at the first round proper; the Primera teams that are playing in the Supercopa aren’t here (Barca, Madrid, Valencia, Atleti) but everyone else is. Primera clubs play teams from the Tercera, and they do it at the Tercera team’s home ground (making allowances for a few teams who are playing ar larger grounds in their home area).
Which brings us to our opponents, Comillas Club de Futból. They play in Group 16 of the Tercera, and are currently 14th in the table, with 16 points from 17 matches, 23 goals scored, 38 allowed. They’ve never been here before; in an interview with AS their sporting director noted they did compete in a children’s championship years ago.....
Comillas is based in Logroño, which has two other clubs in the competition, UD Logroñés and SD Logroñés. Comillas share the magnificently-named “Estadio Mundial 82” with UD, but the stadium only holds 1200. So, the Las Gaunas ground, where SD plays and has a capacity of 16,000, is hosting all three Logroño sides. In fact, UD Logroñés played last week and defeated fellow Segunda B side Marino Luanco 2-1 to move on to the next round.
SD Logroñés have a plum tie against Eibar, which will be played on Tuesday; our match will be played on Wednesday. Hopefully the pitch will still be in pretty good shape.
Las Gaunas is, it must be said, quite a nice stadium and had yet another team, CD Logroñés, as its first tenant; CD was actually a Primera side in the late 80’s—90’s. There are some nice photos and a writeup about the history of CD Logroñés (I haven’t even told you half of the convolutions) here.
Trivia: As noted in the stadium writeup, Las Gaunas has hosted the Spanish national team on three occasions, the latest in 2015. Two current Villarreal players have played at this ground for Spain—Raul Albiol in 2011, versus Lichtenstein, and Santi Cazorla in 2015 (he scored two goals in a match against Luxembourg).
Other Copa matches of interest: Tuesday has Castellón v Las Palmas, Intercity v Athletic Bilbao (match is being played in Elche) and what I would go for as a trendy upset, Andorra hosting Leganés at their Encamp ground—4000+ feet above sea level.
The French cup has followed this format for many years,and always springs some upsets as top clubs go out on the road. It’s likely that will happen here, too— let’s just hope the Yellow Submarine isn’t among them!