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This Wednesday at 9pm CET, FC Barcelona take on Club de Fútbol Intercity in the Round of 32 of the Copa del Rey. It’s a club they have never played before and that very few fans will be familiar with, so here are the essentials on the team from Alicante.
Where are they from?
San Juan de Alicante is a primarily residential municipality on the northern outskirts of the Alicante/Elche metropolitan area, with a population of around 20,000.
The main football club in the community was GCD Sant Joan, which dated back to 1929, but in 2017 an investment group took it over and changed its name, colours and identity, effectively created a brand new club.
With strong financial backing, the club has made quick progress from the local leagues to now play at a higher level than Hércules, which has traditionally been the biggest team in Alicante. It has also twice attempted to fast track this progress. It did this first by proposing a merger with Novelda (and thus taking their place), but the move was impeded by the federation as the two clubs were not geographically close enough. And it was then beaten by FC Andorra when bidding to take the place of the defunct Reus Deportivo.
It’s not the first time Intercity have met a Liga club in the Copa del Rey. In 2019 they played Athletic Club, losing 3-0.
Intercity are now playing in the third tier of Spanish football, Primera Division RFEF, which is divided into two regionalised leagues. Theirs is the same one as Barça Atlétic. They have been struggling at the higher level and are currently in the relegation zone, seven points below the FC Barcelona reserves, with whom they drew 0-0 earlier this season.
They reached the last 32 of the Copa del Rey thanks to a 2-0 defeat of second division Mirandés.
Although they usually play at the 2,500 capacity Estadio Antonio Solana, due to the huge crowd expected for this game, it has been moved to the 29,500 capacity Estadio José Rico Pérez, home of Hércules. This ground hosted two of Argentina’s games in the 1982 World Cup.
Intercity has two players that have won full international caps. Emilio Nsue, who played 142 games for Mallorca and also had a spell in England with Middlesbrough and then Birmingham City, has represented his father’s home nation of Equatorial Guinea 32 times. And centre back Ivan Kecojević, best known for his time at FC Zurich, has five caps for Montenegro.
There are also a surprising number of players in the team that have spent time at FC Barcelona in the past.
Striker Benja played 64 times for Barça B between 2008 and 2011, around the same time that winger Pol Roigé was playing youth football at La Masia. Just over a decade ago, winger Carlos Carmona played for two years in the blaugrana reserves before departing for Sporting Gijón. And midfielder Xemi Fernández (below) joined Barça B in 2016 before going to Oxford United.
Even more recently, right back Guillem Jaime (below) grew up at La Masia and played 22 games for the Barça reserves last season, and Cameroon-born midfielder Frank Angong was on the Barça B books for the last two seasons, but spent both those years out on loan. With Oriol Soldevila and Cristian Herrera also having a Barça past, that's no fewer than eight such players in the current squad!
Guillem Jaime (U19)
Gustavo Siviero played his football at the highest level in Argentina, and then came to Spain where he was in the Mallorca side that beat Barça in the 1998 Spanish Super Cup.
After his playing days ended, he remained in Spain as a coach, hitting Alicante for the first time in 2017 at Hércules’ manager. After a brief spell in Cyprus, he took the Intercity job in 2020.
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