CF Valencia vs FC Barcelona : Predicted lineups
Lionel Messi and Neymar have been predictably named in the Barcelona squad to confront Valencia at the Camp Nou in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semifinal first leg clash, with Dani Alves and Javier Mascherano being the only regulars being rested for the match.
Messi has suffered no sustained ill-effects from the studs-up challenge which witnessed Atletico Madrid’s Filipe Luis red carded at Saturday’s 2-1 La Liga victory for the Blaugrana.
Neymar is named in the squad less than 24 hours after pledging evidence in a Madrid court following a case of potential fraud in his much discussed transfer to Barca in the summer of 2013.
Confirmation that both were called up to play against Valencia, along with the fellow South American attacker Luis Suarez, came via a official club statement early on Wednesday morning.
“Barca head into the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals this Wednesday against Valencia,” the statement said. “Luis Enrique’s men want to get a positive result to reach a third consecutive final.
Ter Stegen, Masip, Pique, Rakitic, Sergio, Arda, A. Iniesta, Suarez, Messi, Neymar Jr, Bartra, Munir, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto, Adriano, Aleix Vidal, Vermaelen and Mathieu were listed in the team. That implies that Luis Enrique will not be actually counting on the help of Bravo, Douglas, Dani Alves, Mascherano, Sandro, and also the injured Rafinha.
The game at the Camp Nou begins at 9 p.m. local time, with the second leg being scheduled for Valencia’s Mestalla stadium this Wednesday Feb. 10.
Holders Barca have reached the final four of the competition in nine of their last 10 seasons, and qualified to face Valencia by defeating Athletic Bilbao 4-2 on aggregate in the quarterfinals of the contest.
Valencia have got past the third-tier Barakaldo, Granada and Las Palmas to come to this stage, and are aiming for a first final climb since they lifted the trophy back in the season 2008.
The 2016 Copa del Rey final has been scheduled for May 21 — with the venue to be fixed once the two finalists have been confirmed.