Top flight teams away to minnows in first round of Spain’s Copa del Rey

Top flight teams away to minnows in first round of Spain’s Copa del Rey

MADRID, Oct. 31 (Xinhua) —

16 teams from Spain’s top flight make their debuts in this season’s Copa del Rey over the next three days.

Every La Liga side except cup holders Real Madrid, runners-up Osasuna, and FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid – all of whom have qualified for the Spanish Super Cup – begin the long march to the final in the same system that has been used for the past few years.

That means the teams from the top flight play away at teams from the lowest leagues, and in the first round, that means sides from the fifth and sixth tier of the Spanish game, often on an artificial surface.

Tuesday sees Las Palmas away to Manacor from the regional fifth tier RFEF III, while Almeria, who are winless and bottom of La Liga, travel to play Talavera de la Reina who play in the fourth-tier RFEF II, and are the highest ranked of the minnows in the first round.

There are ten games involving La Liga sides on Wednesday, which is a public holiday in Spain, of which the most interesting is Athletic Bilbao’s visit to sixth-tier Rubi – a town close to Barcelona.

Athletic coach Ernesto Valverde will carry out wholesale rotations against a rival made up of part-time players, and whose captain Aitor Torres is a lifelong Athletic supporter.

Temporary stands mean around 3,500 supporters will pack into Rubi’s tiny ground, where an artificial pitch with a cork base could cause the visitors some problems.

Elsewhere, Girona, who are second in La Liga, travel to the far southwest to play San Roque de Lepe, while Celta Vigo need to relieve their league struggles away to lowly Turegano.

Real Betis play the historically-named Hernan Cortes, a side from a village of less than 1,000 inhabitants in the region of Extremadura, while Cadiz look for their first win since September 1 away to Badalona Futur on the outskirts of Barcelona.


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