Wednesday, April 20, 2011

FC Barcelona - Real Madrid

It won't be the first or last Clasico between the months of April and May, but is the only Clasico that will see the winner raise the first title of the season, the Copa del Rey. After seven months of competition that saw them eliminate the current champion and runner-up, Real Madrid's last roadblock is none other than Barcelona.

When Mourinho took over as manager of Real Madrid, he made it quite clear that the King's Cup would be just as imporant an objective as the league title and the Champions League. The team's performance throughout the competition proved just that, and now they are one step away from adding another Copa to their collectoin. Madridistas will gather in the South Stand at Mestalla to cheer their team on. "We have to win for them, for the club and for us as well," commented Casillas on Monday.
More than 20,000 Madrid supporters will be in attendance. Casillas, who has never hidden his desire to lift the Cup, dedicated the following message to them: "A large portion of our success is due to our fans. They cannot be on the pitch with us, but from just beyond it they can help carry us to greatness.We hope we can recognize them and see them from the pitch. They need to know that we will do everything we can to win."

Nineteen players including Granero, who served a one-match ban over the weekend, will suit up for the match. Albiol (suspended), Lass and Gago (injured) and Pedro Leon and Canales (out due to coaching decision), meanwhile, are unavailable.

Keep an eye on Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored in the last four matches and hopes to extend the streak come Wednesday. The Portuguese international is sitting on 41 goals this season and only one away from equalling his personal best over the course of one season.

As expected, Guardiola is taking a full arsenal to the Copa final. Puyol and Adriano have recovered from the injuries picked up at the Bernabeu and are among the 20 players tabbed for duties. Mascherano is also among them having sat out Saturday's match due to suspension. Of note, Xavi will participate in his 50th Cup match if he sees action.

It's the second Clasico in less than a week and the first opportunity to win a title. Mestalla may just be where Real Madrid win their first Copa del Rey in 17 years. By standing as one, fans and players have the Cup within grasp.

 This match will be broadcast live on TVOne at 02.00 WIB

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