Valencia CF play their first final since 2008 on Saturday evening, taking on FC Barcelona at the Benito Villamarin.
The game will be the final fixture of the season for Marcelino Garcia Toral’s side, who have played over 60 games across LaLiga, the Champions League, the Europa League and the Copa del Rey. However, they have had a week’s rest since their previous game, in which they bested Real Valladolid to claim fourth place in LaLiga.
FC Barcelona are the reigning Copa del Rey holders, and have won the last four editions of the prestigious cup competition. In addition, they successfully completed a defence of their LaLiga title this season.
The route to the final
Valencia CF’s Copa del Rey campaign began back at the end of October of 2018, with a game against Ebro. After beating the Aragonese side, they then took on Sporting Gijon, overcoming a 2-1 deficit from the first leg by winning 3-0 at Mestalla to go through.
Meeting Getafe in the quarter finals, VCF again responded to a first leg defeat, and Rodrigo Moreno’s late heroics at Mestalla meant that they could progress 3-2 on aggregate.
In the semi-finals, Valencia CF drew 2-2 with Real Betis at the Benito Villamarín, denying the Andalusian team a chance to play in the final at home by beating them 1-0 at Mestalla and booking their place in the last stage of the competition.
FC Barcelona eliminated Cultural Leonesa, Levante UD, Sevilla and Real Madrid on their way to the final.
The team are one of the only sides to have taken points from FC Barcelona in both of their LaLiga meetings this season. The first game, held at Mestalla, ended 1-1, with Ezequiel Garay scoring after just 2 minutes and Leo Messi levelling the match on 23 minutes.
The second encounter saw Valencia CF go 0-2 up at the Camp Nou, courtesy of Kevin Gameiro (24 mins) and Dani Parejo from the penalty spot (32 mins), before Messi struck twice (39 mins, 64 mins), to ensure that the points were shared.
Valencia CF have travelled with every available player for the Copa del Rey final, but Denis Cheryshev will be unavailable due to his long term injury. The Russian will watch the game from the stands.
South Korean talent Kang In is away with his country for the Under-20s World Cup.
FC Barcelona will be without striker Luis Suárez after he underwent surgery recently, but take several players to Seville without medical clearance: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Coutinho, Arthur, Suarez, Dembélé, Rafinha and Boateng are all awaiting the OK from club doctors to play a part in the final.
The full FC Barcelona squad is: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Coutinho, Arthur, Suárez, Messi, Dembélé, Rafinha, Cillessen, Malcom, Lenglet, Murillo, Jordi Alba, Boateng, Roberto, Aleñá, Vidal, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Abel Ruiz, Iñaki Peña and Pérez.
The game is scheduled to get underway at 12.45 am Nepali Time, at Real Betis’ Benito Villamarín stadium in Seville.
Marcelino Garcia Toral, Valencia CF coach:
“This is a game in which we have to defend very well, be good with the ball when attacking and on the counter, and get the ball into the central block as much as possible. Obviously Barça will have more possession, like they do in most of their games, but we know what we’ve done well in games against FC Barcelona, what we need to adjust and where we’ve been better than them.”
Ernesto Valverde, FC Barcelona coach:
“We have the chance to win another double. The journey hasn’t been easy: The cup games come thick and fast in January and we had to come from behind in the last three rounds. We are up against a side in good form. The last two games that we have played against them ended in draws.”