Sevilla and Barça dispute the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal. They arrive at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán two teams in great shape that go hand in hand in the league, with similar numbers (42 points for Julen Lopetegui and 43 for Ronald Koeman, fighting for second place), and who have seen in the KO competition an opportunity to win a title that they want to take advantage of. The return will not be until March 3 at the Camp Nou, curiously four days after another Sevilla-Barça, in this case on February 27 in the second round of a League in which at the Barça stadium, on October 4 , it was 1-1. Equality, tension, emotion and quality. Not to be missed.
Casualties due to injury in the two teams mark the previous hours. Sevilla have lost a pillar like Lucas Ocampos, a physical marvel in attack that suffers a serious ankle sprain after Djené’s stomp against Getafe, although fortunately the break was ruled out. It will remain at least a month in the dry dock. He is a fundamental player for Lopetegui, who cannot count on the left-handed winger or interior Marcos Acuña, the right-back Jesús Navas or the playmaker Óscar Rodríguez. Aleix Vidal and Escudero, on both wings, are ready, while the Plaza de Ocampos is disputed by players such as Papu Gómez, recently arrived from Atalanta in the winter market, or Munir, formerly of the Barça quarry. Suso, on the right with a changed leg, and En-Nesyri, the sensation of the League for his scoring streak, seem fixed, as does another ex-Barcelona player in midfield like Rakitic.
If Sevilla has four injured, Barça doubles it with eight. To the already known casualties of Ansu Fati, Piqué and Coutinho was added the relapse of Sergi Roberto in Granada, Araujo’s ankle sprain at Villamarín and in the previous three more fell due to different physical discomforts: Braithwaite, Dest and Pjanic. The most difficult thing for Koeman is to rebuild the team in defense, as it has the two right backs (Dest and Sergi Roberto) and the two right-handed centrals (Araujo and Piqué) in the infirmary. Canterano Óscar Mingueza, one of the five who entered the list of 20 together with goalkeeper Iñaki Peña, midfielder Ilaix Moriba and wingers Konrad de la Fuente and Álex Collado, will play safe, it is intuited that as ‘2’, leaving the center back for two left-handers, Lenglet and Umtiti, unless Koeman returns to recycle De Jong as center back, with the high price of touching a midfield that works.
The one who will not be lacking at Barça is Messi, who only played half an hour against Betis to arrive fresh against the team that is best at him. He has already scored 37 goals in official competition Not counting the precedent that says it all: in May 2004, at the age of 16, he scored four goals in 15 minutes in the eighth of the Copa del Rey youth. It took a liking to him and he didn’t stop.
Koeman, who coincided with Lopetegui in the 1994-95 Barça squad, the Dutchman as central and the Basque as goalkeeper, praised Sevilla “for their organization and for having one of the most complete squads”. “We will have to be very good with the ball to get out of his pressure,” he stressed. Lopetegui returned the praise: «Barça is a great team that also has the best in the world, Messi. It is a very recognizable team and of course you can see the hand of its coach. The two teams arrived in a great moment ».
Bono, Aleix Vidal, Koundé, Diego Carlos, Escudero, Joan Jordán, Fernando, Rakitic, Suso, En-Nesyri and Munir.
Ter Stegen, Mingueza, Lenglet, Umtiti, Alba, De Jong, Busquets, Pedri, Dembélé, Messi and Griezmann.
Mateu Lahoz (Valencian).
Telecinco and DAZN.