CF Intercity (Primera RFEF) vs FC Barcelona (La Liga)
Competition/Round: 2022-23 Copa del Rey, Round of 32
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Robert Lewandowski, Pedri (out - rest)
Intercity Outs & Doubts: None
Date/Time: Wednesday, January 4, 2023, 9pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8pm GMT (UK), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 1.30am IST (India, Thursday)
Venue: Estadio José Rico Pérez, Alicante, Spain
Referee: Valentín Pizarro Gómez
How to watch on TV: Not Available (USA, Canada, UK, India), Startimes World Football (Nigeria), Movistar Liga de Campeones (Spain), others
Following a disappointing draw in the Catalan derby against Espanyol on New Year’s Eve, Barcelona play their first game of 2023 as they make their Copa del Rey debut this season with a Round of 32 clash away to CF Intercity at the home of Hércules in the city of Alicante.
Xavi Hernández made it clear in his pre-match press conference that the Cup is one of Barça’s priorities, and as the competition’s record winners the Blaugrana certainly know how to navigate the dificulties of the tournament and find a way to go deep almost every year.
Winning La Liga is the number one goal for the year, but a domestic double with the Cup would no doubt be a sweet ending to a promising season. But the first game is always tricky as they face a lower lever side that will give everything they have to get a famous win against the mighty Barcelona.
That is the case for Intercity, who are looking for the biggest victory of their short, six-year history and requested the Spanish Federation to move the game to the biggest stadium in their town of Alicante. The home of Hércules will have almost 25,000 fans pack the venue and support their team all night, but the fact they are a Third Division team fighting for relegation doesn’t mean this will be an easy game.
As is often the case in these matches, the grass will be probably not be cut as short as it is at Camp Nou, so it’ll be harder for Barça to pass the ball and play their usual possession game. But Barça have the much superior squad despite missing Lewandowski and Pedri who will be rested, and there’s more than enough talent to make this a comfortable evening as long as they match Intercity’s intensity and desire, especially early on.
It’s time to start a new Cup journey, avoid a historic upset, and begin the road to glory.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Peña; Bellerín, Araujo, Eric, Alba; Kessie, Busquets, Torre; Raphinha, Memphis, Fati
Intercity (4-2-3-1): Campos; Jaime, Murria, Kecojevic, Romero; Gálvez, Marí; Herrera, Soldevila, Roigé; Fernández
This is the biggest game in Intercity history and the stadium will be filled to see them play the game of their lives. It won’t be easy and Barça might navigate some tricky waters, but I fully expect them to win this comfortably in the end: 3-0 to the good guys.