FC Barcelona begin their 2013-2014 Copa del Rey campaign tonight with a trip to Murcia, where they will be taking on Segunda Division B side FC Cartagena at the Estadio Cartagonova in the first leg of their Round of 32 clash with the 'Efesé'. Despite missing a whole host of first team regulars, Barcelona are heavy favourites for tonight's match, although FC Cartagena are not to be underestimated.
Last season, former Sevilla assistant, Luis Tevenet guided Cartagena to an impressive second place finish in Group 4 of the Segunda 2B. While Cartagena were then defeated 1-0 in the first round of the promotion play-offs by Caudal, their strong finish indicates that they are a good side, likely to be full of confidence; Cartagena may not possess the quality to go toe-to-toe with the Blaugrana but they will certainly give it a try. And when all is said and done, who knows how Cartagena will have faired?
On any given day, any result is possible: a Manita in favour of Barcelona, or a shock Cartagena win. All it might take is one lucky bounce or a fortunate deflection and Barcelona could have a real game on their hands. In Fernando Rodriguez, Cartagena boast a prolific striker capable of scoring at any time, something that the Blaugrana arguably lack in the absence of Lionel Messi. At present, Neymar has not been the regular scorer that most hoped he would be -- and regardless, Gerardo Martino is not expected to start the Brazilian, but is instead tipped to favour Jean-Marie Dongou as the team's central striker.
Will Barcelona be able to grab a result tonight, irrespective of their injury problems and line-up, or will Cartagena spring a surprise with a memorable result against the La Liga leaders? Predict the score of tonight's match by commenting with your prediction below. Best of luck!