AD Ceuta (Primeira RFEF) vs FC Barcelona (La Liga)
Competition/Round: 2022-23 Copa del Rey, Round of 16
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ronald Araujo, Frenkie De Jong (out - rest), Memphis Depay (out - personal)
Ceuta Outs & Doubts: None
Date/Time: Thursday, January 18, 2023, 8pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 7pm GMT (UK), 2pm ET, 11am PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Friday)
Venue: Estadio Alfonso Murube, Ceuta, Spain
Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera
VAR: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández
How to watch on TV: Not Available (USA, Canada, UK, India), Startimes Sports Arena (Nigeria), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), others
Following their dominant win in El Clásico over Real Madrid to claim their first trophy of the season, Barcelona return to action with another Cup tie as they travel to the Spanish territory of Ceuta in the African continent to face Ceuta in the Copa del Rey Round of 16.
Winning the Spanish Super Cup against their main rivals was a huge relief for Barça fans and players, and Xavi Hernández has his first trophy as the Blaugrana boss and can work with a little bit less pressure over the next few weeks.
The Catalans have to build upon the success from last week with good performances and wins as they look to defend their lead in La Liga and advance in the two remaining Cup competitions, and tasting gold for the first time in two years will help teach this young group of players how to win more consistently.
They can reach the Copa del Rey quarterfinals if they win against Ceuta which would mean they’d be just three games away from another Final, and on paper their job should be easy. Ceuta are a Third Division side, but unlike Intercity who gave Barça everything they could handle two weeks ago, Ceuta have the worst record out of all 40 Third Division teams and have the worst defense in professional Spanish football this season.
The extra-time win in the Round of 32 will teach Barça to be more efficient in front of goal, and with Robert Lewandowski expected to play this one the Blaugrana should be able to convert their chances. Ceuta will give everything they have and try to make this a hard-fought, low-scoring battle, but if Barça play anywhere close to their best football, even with what should be a rotated side, they will dominate and advance easily.
It’s time to show the championship DNA that this time is developing. Championship teams dominate bad ones and don’t give them a shot. Time to see some killer instinct from Barça to keep the good vibes going.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Peña; Bellerín, Eric, Alonso, Alba; Kessie, Roberto, Torre; Ferran, Lewandowski, Fati
Ceuta (4-2-3-1): Mejías; García, Lafarge, Gutiérrez, Macías; Iglesias, Reina; González, Cuevas, López; Ríos
The Intercity battle will have taught Barça to play better, more urgent football and kill the game off as soon as possible. And given Ceuta are a much worse side than Intercity, I fully expect Barça to win this one comfortably: 4-0 to the good guys.