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Thursday brings Spanish Cup action to the Camp Nou (10.00pm CET) in the form of the round of 16 first leg against Elche, the team Barça played on the opening day of the current Liga season, winning 3-0. The Catalans had little trouble getting through their first tound fixture with a 12-1 aggregate win over Huesca, while Elche faced a sterner test from Valladolid, eventually winning 1-0 to make it into the last sixteen for the first time in a decade. The side currently propping up the Liga table with just eleven points will thus play Barça in the Copa del Rey for the first time in 49 years.
FC Barcelona and Elche first crossed paths in the knockout competition in the round of 16 of the 1962/63 edition. The sixties were the golden era of Elche’s history. They spent the whole decade in the top flight and that year would achieve the second of six consecutive top ten finishes in La Liga. And they got their cup fixture off to a flying start with a 4-1 win in the first leg thanks to goals from Lezcano, Romero and Costa (2), with Zaldúa getting what would prove to be a very important goal for FCB. That would prove to be the only ever win for Elche against Barcelona in the cup, and a week later at the Camp Nou all their good work was undone when Barça replicated the 4-1 win with goals from Camps, Gensana, Benítez and Zaldúa.
It meant the tie ended 5-5 on aggregate and the rules in those days dictated that the teams should play a tie-breaker at a neutral venue (Madrid), which Barça won 2-1 thanks to a brace of goals from Pereda. Barça went on to win the trophy that 1962/63 season with a 3-1 win over Real Zaragoza in the final.
The only other cup tie involving these two teams happened just three years later, in 1965/66. Elche were headed for what would be their second best ever Liga finish of 6th place, so they were very much a force to be reckoned with at the time. Both teams had cruised into the quarter finals, and Barça were pushed hard for a 1-0 win in the first leg at the Camp Nou, Zaballa getting the only goal. The job was finished in the second leg with a 2-0 win, Zaballa scoring once again with Zaldúa getting the other.
Barça went into the semi-finals, where they would be beaten by eventual champions Real Zaragoza.
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