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Real Madrid Vs Espanyol, Copa del Rey 2013-2014: Match Preview (21:00 CET)

Real Madrid will try to make the best out of the 0-1 advantage they collected at Cornellá-El Prat. Gareth Bale will miss the match and Jesé Rodríguez will take his spot.

Denis Doyle

Carlo Ancelotti confirmed during his pre-match press conference that Gareth Bale will miss this second Copa del Rey leg against Espanyol. Real Madrid earned a 0-1 win thanks to a goal by Karim Benzema that should allow Carlo Ancelotti's men to enjoy what should be a comfortable match.

Still, Espanyol will surely try to score an early goal. Sergio García and Jhon Córdoba were brilliant on Espanyol's 2-2 draw at Mestalla against Valencia. Considering that Real Madrid will play at San Mamés next Sunday, Carlo Ancelotti could use this match to make some rotations. It's also true that the team's 2-0 Liga win against Granada didn't require a lot of intensity, so the players could not be tired, but if there's one single game in which Ancelotti can afford to rotate his team and give Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema, Pepe or Ramos some rest, this is it.

Jesé Rodríguez will be starting the match in Gareth Bale's place. The Welsh player is still recovering from the knock he suffered against Granada. Ancelotti said that it should not sideline him from the match against Bilbao though, so to rest Bale might definitely be the best option.

Real Madrid should try to keep the possession, but Espanyol's strikers are also dangerous on counterattacks and aerial balls. If Nacho starts the match against García and Córdoba, he could struggle.

Still, Real should put the nail on Espanyol's coffin if they manage to take the lead. That would mean that Espanyol would have to score twice in order to knock Madrid out of the competition. Something that Real Madrid's defense will not allow, especially considering that the team has kept a clean sheet for the last seven games.

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