El Clasico Series - Part 2: Copa Del Rey Final

Real Madrid vs FC Barcelona
Final, Copa Del Rey
Estadio Mestalla, Valencia
Wednesday, 20th April 2011
19:30 GMT (21:30 CET)


Just four days after from their league clash, Real Madrid and Barcelona meet up for the second of four El Clasico series. This time, the two rivals square off on a neutral field at the Estadio Mestalla in Valencia with the Copa Del Rey (The King's Cup) title on the line.

Wednesday's match, will be the first meeting between Barca and Real in the Copa Del Rey final since 1990, a match won by Barcelona 2-0. This is only the fifth time these two clubs have met in the 107-year history of the Copa Del Rey, with Barca having won three of the first four meetings. Never before however has a Cup final been part of such a historic run of matches between the two Spanish giants.

Barcelona enter the match missing only defender Eric Abidal who continues his recovery from surgery to remove a tumor on his liver. Team captain Carles Puyol, who injured his hamstring on Saturday, was given the all clear by team doctors, while young forward Bojan Krkic is out with a knee injury. Pep Guardiola will have to decide whether to play primary goalkeeper Víctor Valdes in place of backup Jose Pinto, who has started all of Barcelona's Copa Del Rey matches this season.

Jose Mourinho has been drawing criticism from the media and Madrid fans for his team's defensive performance at the Bernabéu on Saturday. Even Madrid's honorary president, Alfredo Di Stefano, said the Portuguese managers; team lacked "personality." The former Madrid great likened the match to a mouse playing a lion. Despite the questioning of his tactics, Mourinho has never been one who listens to criticism or sways from his plans.

Mourinho will chase his first trophy with Real Madrid without Lassana Diarra and Fernando Gago, who remain out due to injury. Madrid's versatile midfielder/defender Raul Albiol will be out as well, serving a red card suspension for his card on Saturday. Cards and suspension earned in league are carried over to the cup competition in Spain.

If Barcelona can prevail, it would be the ninth trophy for the club since Guardiola took over in 2008. A victory would extended the club's record number of Copa Del Rey titles to 26. Real Madrid sits third all-time with 17 titles. Madrid have not won the Spanish league cup since 1993 and are playing in their first final since 2004. Mourinho is no stranger to the Copa del Rey, having won two while serving as an assistant at Barcelona under Louis van Gaal in 1997 and 1998.

Wednesday's match is the second meeting of four between the two clubs in an 18 day span. Match three, the first leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal, is a week from Wednesday in Madrid.

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