MX23RW : Tuesday, March 2 23:48:00| >> :120:39293:39293:
Jan 21, 2021 at 8pm UK at Campo Nuevo Municipal de Cornella
CornellaCornella
0-2
BarcelonaBarcelona

Estelles (38'), Presa (57'), Medina (96')
Estelles (118')
FT
(aet)
Dembele (92'), Braithwaite (120+1')
Puig (7'), Pjanic (106')

Preview: Cornella vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Copa del Rey clash between Cornella and Barcelona, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Barcelona will be looking to bounce back immediately from their Spanish Super Cup disappointment when they travel to third-tier side Cornella for Thursday's Copa del Rey bout.

The hosts will not make life easy for Ronald Koeman's men, though, as they overcame La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid to reach the third round.


Match preview

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman pictured on January 17, 2021© Reuters

A second-string Atletico team boasting the likes of Joao Felix, Saul Niguez and Lucas Torreira fell to Cornella in the second round of the Copa del Rey, with defender Adrian Jimenez netting the only goal of the game within the opening six minutes.

Having already pulled off one giant killing in this season's tournament, third-tier Cornella have been rewarded with a battle against another behemoth of the Spanish game as they attempt to defy the odds on their own turf once more.

Guillermo Fernandez's side have never advanced past the fourth round of the Copa del Rey - with Real Madrid knocking them out at that stage in the 2014-15 season - but the minnows command a tremendous amount of respect after dumping Atletico out of the tournament, with a clean sheet to boot.

Another 1-0 triumph over Marino in the first round means that Cornella are yet to ship a goal in this season's competition - a stark contrast to their Segunda B form after their winless league run stretched to six matches at the weekend with a 2-2 draw at Olot.

Fernandez's side are flirting with relegation in the third tier, so while the visit of Barcelona should be given the attention that such a momentous occasion deserves, their league fortunes will undoubtedly take precedence over an unlikely cup run.

Lionel Messi is sent off for Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup on January 17, 2021© Reuters

A first-ever red card for Lionel Messi in his Barcelona career epitomised the Catalan giants' night against Athletic, who lifted the Spanish Super Cup after a 3-2 win over Koeman's side in extra time, with Inaki Williams scoring a delightful winner at the Estadio de La Cartuja.

Defeat on Sunday evening ended La Blaugrana's four-game winning run across all competitions - as well as preventing them from going 10 games unbeaten - and denied Koeman his maiden piece of silverware in the Camp Nou dugout.

However, there is no denying that Barca have improved significantly over the past couple of months and they are now firmly in the mix with La Liga's title hopefuls, although Atletico do boast a seven-point lead over Koeman's side having played two fewer matches.

Nevertheless, Barcelona can take solace from the fact that they have not been knocked out of the Copa del Rey by lower-league opposition since the 2004-05 campaign, and victory here would see them maintain their 100% record on the road since the turn of the year.

Thursday's game represents the inaugural meeting between Barcelona and Cornella, and having witnessed the third-tier side send Atletico packing, Koeman's men cannot afford to go into this game expecting an easy route into the fourth round.

Cornella Copa del Rey form: WW
Cornella form (all competitions): LWLWDD

Barcelona form (all competitions): DWWWWL


Team News

Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann celebrates scoring their second goal with teammates pictured on January 17, 2021© Reuters

The hero of Cornella's victory over Atletico - Adrian Jimenez - tore his anterior cruciate ligament in a league fixture with Gimnastic last weekend and will sadly be sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Should Fernandez opt to switch to the 5-3-2 system which worked wonders against the La Liga leaders, Albert Estelles would be a candidate to fill the void left by Jimenez's absence.

Birmingham City loanees Agus Medina and Ivan Guzman could both be in line for starts in one of the biggest games in Cornella's 70-year history.

Messi could reportedly be facing a 12-game ban for lashing out at Athletic's Asier Villalibre in Sunday's defeat, and while the length of his suspension is yet to be determined, he will definitely not be available here.

It would have been a surprise to see the wantaway Argentine line up on Thursday anyway as wholesale changes are expected from Koeman, starting with Martin Braithwaite and Trincao enjoying starts up top.

Second-choice goalkeeper Neto should be given a run-out here, while out-of-favour defenders such as Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo and the young Oscar Mingueza will be vying for starts.

Miralem Pjanic and Riqui Puig both came off the bench in the defeat to Athletic and are likely to feature from the off in Koeman's midfield this week.

Cornella possible starting lineup:
Juan; Guzman, Moreno, Garcia, Estelles, Prieto; Medina, Presa, Gila; Ontiveros, Fernandez

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Neto; Mingueza, Umtiti, Araujo, Firpo; Pjanic, Puig; Trincao, Pedri, Griezmann; Braithwaite


SM words green background

We say: Cornella 1-3 Barcelona

Barcelona manager Koeman should ring the changes for their first Copa del Rey game of the campaign, which could have Cornella licking their lips at the prospect of another mammoth upset. The hosts will not have to deal with a rampant Lionel Messi on the night, but Barca will be desperate to return to winning ways and have the chance to utilise their impressive squad depth, so we think the Cornella dream will end here.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


ID:431159:cQx:QQ:

How you voted: Cornella vs Barcelona

Cornella
13.7%
Draw
4.0%
Barcelona
82.3%
175
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Lionel Messi is sent off for Barcelona against Athletic Bilbao in the Spanish Super Cup on January 17, 2021
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Lionel Messi facing 12-match ban?
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Atletico MadridAtletico24184247163158
2Barcelona25165455223353
3Real Madrid25165443202353
4Sevilla24153634181648
5Real Sociedad25119542212142
6Real Betis25123103338-539
7Villarreal2581343327637
8Granada2596103142-1133
9Levante2571173534132
10Athletic Bilbao2486103428630
11Celta Vigo257993037-730
12Osasuna2577112333-1028
13Getafe2576122030-1027
14Valencia2569103035-527
15CadizCadiz2567122141-2025
16AlavesAlaves2557132039-1922
17EibarEibar25410112028-822
18Real Valladolid25410112336-1322
19ElcheElche2449112136-1521
20Huesca25311112236-1420

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