Valencia Vs. Real Madrid, Copa del Rey 2013: A Ticket To The Semifinals

Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno

Real Madrid and Valencia will fight this night (21:30 CET) for a place in the Semifinals of the 2012-2013 Copa del Rey. José Mourinho's team has a 2-0 lead in the tie after his players secured the win at the Santiago Bernabéu without conceding a single goal. Furthermore, Valencia's star striker Roberto Soldado will have to miss the game, so Valencia will have a tough one trying to win this tie and play against Málaga or Barcelona.

Even though Madrid beat Valencia 0-5 last Sunday, this will be a different game. Sergio Ramos will not be able to play yet, but Real Madrid could certainly use his defensive skills to prevent Valencia from scoring early on. The team has been defending well lately, but if Valencia somehow manages to score soon, it's certain that Valencia's team will try to put some pressure on Real Madrid's defenders.

Valencia's Fernando Gago will miss the game after a disastrous first half in their Liga meeting. He kept loosing the ball in dangerous positions allowing Di María, Özil and Cristiano Ronaldo to create good opportunities for their teammates. That would help Real Madrid a lot tonight, given that Valencia will play without a pure defensive midfielder. Víctor Ruiz will likely play in that role.

It should be enough for Real Madrid if the team is able to score at least one goal. If that happens, Valencia will need to score four of them in order to advance to the Semis, something that it's not very likely without Roberto Soldado on the pitch. That means that Mourinho shouldn't try to defend but to attack and score at least one goal. Of course, it would be good to let Valencia handle the pressure first to try to find some space counterattacking. That was a very good way to disarm Valencia's weapons in La Liga and it should be even more effective without Soldado and a pure defensive midfielder.

Alonso and Khedira left the game early in the second half past Sunday, so they will surely play tonight. Di María played really great, but is he ready to play that much yet? Modric would give Madrid a good asset to keep the ball longer against an anxious Valencia, but he doesn't seem to fit alongside Özil. Benzema will be the team's striker, and with Marcelo being out of the list and getting fit for February, Coentrao is ready to start again.

If Real Madrid takes this game seriously, the team shouldn't have a single problem with that 2-0 advantage. Mourinho probably reminded everyone that Valencia wasn't going to make Madrid's job that easy after the 0-5 win in Mestalla.

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