Football News

Copa del Rey Preview: Real Madrid welcome Espanyol, Barcelona entertain Levante

Created on Jan. 28, 2014 5:00 AM EST

Real Madrid have only won the Copa del Rey once in the last 20 years but manager Carlo Ancelotti is fully focused on making the semi-finals.

Madrid face Espanyol in their quarter-final second leg on Tuesday with a 1-0 lead from the first game last week, and Ancelotti is keen to go all the way in the competiton.

The Italian's side have not lost a competitive fixture since October and are full of confidence after nine consecutive victories put them in a good position for title tilts in both league and cup.

In contrast, Espanyol have only won twice in 2014, and have not beaten Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu since April 1996.

The winners of this tie could face holders Atletico Madrid in the last four, providing Diego Simeone's side can get past Athletic Bilbao on Wednesday.

Atletico also take a 1-0 lead into the second leg and come into the tie off the back of a resounding 4-2 victory over Rayo Vallecano in the league.

Both matches between the sides have been won by Atletico this season and their opponents have yet to score past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

However, Bilbao scored five goals at Osasuna at the weekend and will hope two-goal hero Aritz Aduriz can maintain that form in the cup.

Barcelona go into their clash with Levante on Wednesday with a comfortable 4-1 lead from the first game in Valencia.

Cristian Tello netted a hat-trick in that game and he is expected to start again as Gerardo Martino rotates his squad to ensure his charges stay fully fit.

Both sides won at the weekend, but Levante will arrive in Catalonia well aware of the fact they conceded seven goals on their last visit.

The final match of the round between Racing Santander and Real Sociedad sees the top-flight side 3-1 ahead on aggregate, but there are doubts the match will even go ahead.

Santander's players have threatened to go on strike over unpaid wages and the club's transfer policy, and have demanded the board resign otherwise they will not take the field on Thursday.

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