- Copy link
After 2022 came to an end with a 1-1 draw at Spotify Camp Nou in the derby with Espanyol , the new year commences with a new focus, the Copa del Rey. FC Barcelona have been drawn away to Intercity, a team from Alicante that was founded just half a decade ago but that his rising fast up the pyramid and is now competing in the third tier Primera RFEF.
This is the first time the sides have ever met, although Barça Atlètic played the same team just a few weeks ago in a game that ended 0-0. But this game will be played at a different venue, the Estadio José Rico Pérez, normally the home of Hèrcules, due to the sell-out crowd that this game is expected to attract.
The new format of the Copa del Rey means games are played over just one leg and in the round of 32 always at the home of the lower ranked side. That makes every game a potential banana skin and there is room for complacency, even when the team that has won this competition more times than anyone is up against a side that most fans had never even heard before the draw was made.
Therefore, and having learned from some close calls in the past, Xavi has opted not to draw on the reserves and instead to rest only two of his big names players, Lewandowski and Pedri. Moreover, a game like this is the ideal chance to get the team gelling again after the long spell apart due to the World Cup. It was plain to see at the weekend that there are still a few nuts and bolts that need tightening before the blaugrana are back to the kind of form they were showing before so many players headed off to Qatar November.
Everyone else will be making the trip to Alicante. The full squad of 22 is as follows: Ter Stegen, Bellerín, Araujo, Sergio Busquets, Dembélé, Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Memphis, Christensen, Marcos Alonso, Jordi Alba, Kessie, Sergi Roberto, Frenkie De Jong, Raphinha, Kounde, Eric García, Iñaki Peña, Balde, Gavi, Pablo Torre and Arnau Tenas.
That said, in his pre-match press conference, Xavi promised that there will be some rotation of his squad for this game, especially given the tight schedule of games ahead.
Excitement at Intercity
After a 1-0 win against fourth tier Cirbonero followed by an impressive 2-0 defeat of second division Mirandés, Intercity are delighted to be hosting FC Barcelona in the biggest ever in the club's short history.
To add to the interest, no fewer than eight of the home side were at FC Barcelona at some stage of their careers, namely Guillem Jaime, Franck Angong, Carlos Carmona, Xemi Fernández, Oriol Soldevila, Pol Roigé, Cristian Herrera and Benja Martínez. Five of those featured in the last round of the cup against Mirandés.
- Copy link