Barça – Madrid: Spanish Cup Grand final
FC Barcelona and Real Madrid go head to head tonight (21.30) in the Copa del Rey final in Mestalla. Barça are seeking their second trophy of the season, while Madrid will look to end their poor run against the Catalans.
Barcelona (FCB).- Now for the Spanish Cup. The series of four 'clásicos' between Barça and Madrid in 18 days takes us to Valencia tonight for the Spanish Cup final. It happens just four days after the clubs met in the league in a game that took Barça closer to a third title in a row after drawing 1-1 and where we saw what contrasting styles of play these two teams have and the goals by Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
There will be no sharing of the spoils tonight and Barça will feel confident that they can claim the glory after going six games against the old enemy without defeat, while Madrid have won no titles for two seasons.
King of Cups
Barça are looking to win back the trophy they last lifted two years ago, also at Mestalla. Their opponents that night were Athletic Bilbao, and the Blaugrana extended their record number of cup titles to 25. The all-whites, who haven\u2019t lifted this trophy since 1993, have won 17.
Mascherano is back
Barça are travelling with all of their available players, including Puyol and Adriano (who both left the Bernabéu field with fitness concerns), and also the B team\u2019s Fontàs and Thiago. The captain (Puyol) is the main injury concern, and it is still not clear if he will play or not, but after serving a suspension, Mascherano is available for selection once again. Pep Guardiola has already confirmed that José Manuel Pinto will be the starting goalkeeper, as in the rest of the Spanish Cup games.
The only certain absentees are Bojan and Abidal, but they will both still be travelling, as will all the reserve players that have played their part in this competition, in which Barça have made it to Valencia after eliminating Ceuta, Athletic Bilbao, Betis and Almeria.
Third of the year
Madrid are missing the injured Gago and Lass and also Albiol, who was shown a red card on Saturday. This will their third attempt of the season to beat Barça. They lost 5-0 in the first meeting, and then drew 1-1 at home, with manager José Mourinho employing very different tactics in each match. It remains a mystery what kind of approach he is going to take his first final as manager of Real Madrid.