Barcelona v Real Madrid: Copa del Rey final 2014 match preview
A look ahead to Wednesday evening's final at the Mestalla
Wednesday 16 April 2014
Any Clasico comes with a sense of anticipation, and importance. But this match carries even more weight than usual – not only a cup final, but a chance for both clubs to earn some much needed silverware.
Barcelona crashed out of the Champions League last week, and defeat at Granada on the weekend leaves them third in La Liga, with Gerardo Martino’s reputation in tatters.
Real are slightly less troubled, having just about seen off Borsussia Dortmund to progress in Europe, but with Bayern Munich waiting in the semi-finals, and Atletico Madrid three points ahead in La Liga, this could be Carlo Ancelotti’s best chance of a trophy this season.
Throw in the intense rivalry between the two clubs, and the bad blood that hangs over from Barceolona’s 4-3 victory in March, and this cup final could be explosive.
KICK-OFF: Wednesday, 8.30pm (BST)
Barcelona are paying for their complacency
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PAST THREE MEETINGS…
Real Madrid 3 (Benzema 2, Ronaldo) Barcelona 4 (Iniesta, Messi 3), La Liga, March 2014
Barcelona 2 (Neymar, Sanchez) Real Madrid 1 (Jese), La Liga, October 2013
Real Madrid 2 (Benzema , Ramos) Barcelona 1 (Messi), La Liga, March 2013
Gareth Bale could be key to Real Madrid's chances with Cristiano Ronaldo likely to miss the game through injury
This will be the fourth season in a row that the two teams have met in the Copa del Rey - the winner has gone on to lift the cup in two of the last three years.
Barcelona have gone two games without scoring for the first time since 2008.
Barcelona have won just two of the five games since Victor Valdes picked up his end of season injury.
The two league victories recorded by Barcelona over Real Madrid this season make this the first time that either side have done the league double over the other since 2007/08.
Real Madrid are yet to concede in their eight Copa del Rey games this season.
Madrid have won their last four domestic games without conceding, scoring 16 times in the process.
Barcelona to win: 2.45
Real Madrid to win: 2.8
The last time these two sides met in the final of the Copa del Rey was 2011, when a Cristiano Ronaldo header in extra time gave Jose Mourinho his first trophy as Real Madrid manager. A bad-tempered affair ended 0-0 after 90 minutes, with Iker Casillas producing stunning saves to deny Messi and Iniesta. In extra time Ronaldo headed in to secure the trophy, but Real Madrid had to hang on with 10 men after Di Maria was dismissed in the final minutes.
TV: Live on Sky Sports 1 at 8.30pm
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