Real Madrid vs Real Murcia | Preview
Year after year after year for about sometime now this has been a talking point every time a cup game comes up. Will Real Madrid take the Campeonato de España – Copa de Su Majestad El Rey Don Juan Carlos I better known as the Copa Del Rey seriously or not? And every single time at least for the past few years even though the answer given to us prior to the game is a “Yes” it has inevitably always looked like a “No” when the game actually is played. And for the past couple of seasons it even seemed more like a “No chance in hell” than a “No.”
The last decent run we had in the competition was in 2003-04 when Real managed to reach the finals only to be defeated by Zaragoza in extra time. 3-2 was the final score in favor of Zaragoza. And ever since it has been more of an embarrassment. Valladolid, Zaragoza, Real Betis, Real Union and Alcorcon have all had the honor of eliminating us from the oldest competition in Spain. And this year Murcia have the opportunity to help us continue our dreadful run. The first leg at the Nueva Condomina ended 0-0 with Real coming as close as hitting the post once and despite Ronaldo and Casillas playing.
The second leg will be played tonight at the Bernabeu where Jose Mourinho and co still have a 100% record this season. And the manager has emphasized on the importance of the clash in last evening’s presser saying:
Our match against Murcia is the most important game in the season so far because it is the only one that could make us lose a championship. Losing one game in the Champions League is alright because there are five more to play. Losing one in La Liga is also okay because 37 remain. This match is even more decisive given the bad result we earned in the first leg. We will be eliminated if we lose and if we draw with the same number of goals. Our only option is to win the match; it is our duty to reach the next round.
And he is right if I may say so. After drawing a blank in the first leg we have no other choice but to go all out for a win tonight. Mourinho also stressed on the fact that the fans need to be at their best creating what he called a knock-out stage atmosphere at the Bernabeu. Frankly speaking, I felt that the crowd was fantastic in the weekend against Atletico despite the dull game on show. I am sure the fans will do what they have to do.
As far as team news is concerned the special one will not be able to count on Gago for the next three weeks and Mateos for the next two as both were ruled out with injuries on Monday. Also out are Garay, Kaka and Dudek. Answering about possible winter signings, our manager had this to say:
We will have two fantastic winter signings for free this year: Gago and Kaka. They still haven’t played a game. Things are going well and there isn’t much talk about the players we currently miss. They are very important to the team. Gago has to work hard and recover. It isn’t easy for a footballer not to play, especially when he has a lot of excitement. His time will come.
Mourinho has thus called up 20 players for the game. Lass returns to the squad after a long lay off. Isaac replaces Dudek as the third keeper while Alex also gets a chance to sit along side the senior team. Carvalho, Pepe, Ozil and Khedira have been rested for the game. The manager admitted that despite progressing to the next stage of the competition being a priority he will not be afraid to field our fringe players as he feels that this is a chance for them to prove that they deserve a starting place in the team. He went on to reveal 9 of the eleven starters for tomorrow.
The line-up will comprise Casillas, Arbeloa, Ramos, Albiol, Marcelo, Canales, Granero, Pedro Leon, Benzema and two others. The Copa del Rey should have special significance for Spaniards. We want people to be excited about winning the title.
I am guessing the other two will be Mahamadou Diarra and possibly Angel Di Maria as Ronaldo did not train yesterday and was given the day off. Also, in what has become a regulation, the manager continued to give Benzema hope that he would one day be a starter and that one day would be coming soon. As far as strategy is concerned I doubt if we will make any such changes. Most of the replacements made seem to be like-for-like.
REAL MADRID SQUAD LIST
Goalkeepers: Casillas, Adan, Jesus
Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Arbeloa, Albiol
Midfielders: Granero, Lass, Xabi Alonso, Diarra, Pedro Leon, Di Maria, Canales, Alex
Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Higuain, Benzema
Murcia coach Inaki Alonso won’t leave any of his players behind aside from the injured Jorge Molina, who will undergo surgery on Wednesday. Aguilera, who is also injured, gets the chance to travel with the squad.
The march towards the 18th title has just begun. Whether it ends prematurely or lasts until May depends on tonight. Lets hope its the latter.
Para Siempre Blanco!