Thirty-six days after procuring a shutout victory at Real Murcia in the first leg of the Copa del Rey’s round of 32, Fútbol Club Barcelona is hosting the return leg at Camp Nou looking to finish the job and become one of the 16 teams still standing in what began as an 83-team tournament.
Coming off back-to-back road draws in crucial matches—0-0 at Juventus in the UEFA Champions League and 1-1 at Valencia in La Liga—and playing at home with a comfortable lead over Second Division B side Murcia, Wednesday’s match is a perfect opportunity for manager Ernesto Valverde to rest some of his key players.
So Ter Stegen, Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets, Andrés Iniesta, Luis Suárez, Leo Messi, Jordi Alba and Samuel Umtiti all sit this one out.
With good news in the return of Sergi Roberto from injury, the full squad for the game is as follows: Jasper Cillessen, Nelson Semedo, Gerard Piqué, Denis Suárez, Paulinho, Gerard Deulofeu, Paco Alcácer, Lucas Digne, Sergi Roberto, Aleix Vidal, Thomas Vermaelen, Adrian Ortolá (31), Carles Aleñá (26), Oriol Busquets (30), Jose Arnaiz (37) and David Costas (39).
Barça (1st in La Liga): D W W D D
Murcia (5th in 2nd Div. B, Gr. 4): W W L W W
Ernesto Valverde addressed the media on Tuesday evenig, saying that "“We got a favourable result in the first leg, but we still want to go out and perform well. And Murcia are doing better now. They’ve won five of their last six games and will be coming to put up a fight, to play well as a team. We’ll need to play some good football to win this one.”
José María Salmerón, the Real Murcia manager, knows that turning around the aggregate score at Camp Nou is a pretty tall order. “We’re continuing to improve as a team,” he said. “They’re one of the best teams in the world, the current leaders of the First Division, and we know we’re going to suffer, but we have to try our best…All of their players are world-class. Even their reserves, many of whom will very soon be top-flight players.”
No matter where you are in the world you can watch the game LIVE. You can also listen to live English commentary on Radio Barça, as well as follow our minute-by-minute updates on FC Barcelona's official English language Twitter account. Don't miss it!