Real Madrid vs Melilla Preview
Real Madrid welcome third tier club UD Melilla to the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg of their Copa del Rey tie. Kickoff is at 10:15 AM on Thursday.
Melilla will need a miracle to turn the tie around. Nevertheless, head coach Luis Carrión will be looking to achieve just that after seeing his side lose the first leg 4-0.
Interestingly, that match was Real manager Santiago Solari’s first match in charge of the whites. Six matches later, the Argentine is looking good in his now permanent role.
‘Los Blancos’ have won six of their seven matches under the new coach. progressing to the next round of the UCL and improving domestically since the first leg.
A win on Thursday would see Solari’s men do the same in the Copa del Rey. Although their opponents from north Africa will do their very best to make history with an upset.
The visitors currently sit atop the standings in Spain’s Segunda B having only suffered one league defeat this year.
Madrid continue to be without defender Nacho and midfielder Casemiro. As well as Alvaro Odriozola should the defender fail a late fitness test.
As is customary in the competition, second choice players will make up the majority of the host’s starting eleven. Javi Sanchez, Sergio Reguilon and Federico Valverde should all feature in the lineup.
Likewise, Keylor Navas will start for the first time since these two clubs met in the first leg. The Costa Rican keeper having officially been made second choice behind Thibaut Courtois by his coach.
Solari’s decision to do so effectually brings an end to a goalkeeping conundrum that was destined to upset someone, no matter the end result.
In the case of Melilla, the visitors should feature the same back four that faced Madrid in the reverse fixture. In that case, Juanmi Carrion and Mohamed Mahanan will return to the starting eleven.
Yacine Qasmi will also most likely lead in attack. The Moroccan is the club’s top scorer at the moment with 10 goals. Elsewhere, Alfonsito may start in midfield after the 24 year old impressed in the first leg.
Lineups and Prediction
Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal, Sanchez, Varane, Reguilon; Isco, Valverde, Ceballos; Asensio, Mariano, Vinicius
Melilla: Barrio; Chakla, Mahanan, Segura, Carrion; Ruano, B Martin, Alfonsito, Otegui, Martinez; Qasmi
The Spanish giants are firmly in place to win. Not only did they manage to achieve a decisive away victory in the first leg, but during a period of crisis as well.
At the moment, the 19 time Copa del Rey champions are in better times and playing at home. Carrión’s men are at risk of a real smashing in the Spanish capital.
Despite the presence of some lesser experienced squad members, expect a Madrid victory. A victory that will serve more as a morale boosting for the B-team than anything.
Real Madrid 4 – 0 UD Melilla
Photo credit to Real Madrid via Flickr