FC Barcelona (La Liga) vs Cultural Leonesa (Segunda B)
Competition/Round: 2018-19 Copa del Rey, Round of 32 1st leg
Barcelona Outs and Doubts: Marc-André ter Stegen, Gerard Piqué, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho, Luis Suárez (out, rest), Lionel Messi, Samuel Umtiti, Thomas Vermaelen (out, injury)
Leonesa Outs and Doubts: None
Date/Time: Wednesday, October 31, 2018, 9.30pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 8.30pm GMT (UK), 4.30pm ET, 1.30pm PT (USA), 2am IST (India, Thursday)
Venue: Estadio Reino de León, León, Spain
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), others
Welcome to the Copa del Rey! The Spanish Cup has already started a while ago, but the Round of 32 is the phase where the top La Liga teams join the party, which includes Barcelona. The four-time defending champions are the all-time winners of this competition and could do something really special by winning it five years in a row.
Of course this isn’t the trophy we all want, but you can’t win a Treble without the Copa del Rey. And after the wins over Sevilla, Inter Milan and Real Madrid, winning a Treble doesn’t sound so crazy. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves, and take it one game at a time. The next one is in the Copa against Third Division side Cultural Leonesa, and Ernesto Valverde will use this opportunity to rest his main players and give chances to reserves and youngsters.
Because every round of the Spanish Cup but the Final is somehow still played over two legs, the result of Wednesday’s game doesn’t matter that much. Barça don’t really need to score all the goals and play that well, but they should. They’re facing a team two divisions below them and the Barça players starting this one won’t get many chances in the league or Champions League. They must prove their worth, play well and win big. We’ll find out if they can.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Cillessen; Semedo, Chumi, Cuenca, Miranda; Vidal, Samper, Denis; Dembélé, Munir, Malcom
Leonesa (4-2-3-1): Palatsí; Saúl, Alonso, Romero, Viti; Yeray, Marcos; Liberto, Samu, Rodríguez; Ortiz
I do not know how good Leonesa are, but I do know Barça are way better, and the guys starting this one will be really hungry: 3-0 to the champions.