We’ve been very fortunate in the Copa del Rey. We have the opportunity to travel all the way to the semi-finals without ever seeing a top flight team. But you know what? Years after a tournament is completed, no one cares too much how you got there, they only remember how it all turned out. This can be a special cup run, but we have to take care of business against Mirandes.
The last lower division side left in the tournament, Mirandes has so much to be proud of this season for their performance in the cup. After beating fellow lower tier opponents Coruxo and UCAM Murcia, they went into extra time with Celta Vigo before winning 2-1 after Celta went down to 10 men. Celta won’t begrudge them the final result too much, as they have their own La Liga survival to sort out. If they don’t get it together, they’ll be facing Mirandes twice next season (Iago Aspas in the second tier? Yikes). They also pretty comprehensively defeated a strong Sevilla lineup in the last round. They are hyped about this cup run, just look what it means to their fans:
Of course we all remember what happened the last time we faced Mirandes in the Copa del Rey, and we’ll be looking to avoid that um, problem, again. We also faced them twice as league opponents in 2012-2013 but I’m not sure I want to discuss that season either.
Calleja has taken this Copa very seriously all year, and I expect him to do the same here. We will likely get a lot of first teamers, though I wouldn’t be surprised if Gerard gets a break as he continues to ease back from his injury. I’m very curious to see Paco and Chukwueze work together for a longer period of time. The last few matches it feels like we have had slow first halves before waking up and taking care of business. I’m all for “magic of the cup” but I’m really hoping we come to play from the opening kick and take care of business.
The optimist in me says we’re gonna win this thing 3-1 or 3-0, more realistically this is a big game on the road and if we can get out of here 2-1, I’ll be thrilled.