There are few competitions with more magic than a Copa del Rey in a short tournament format and with a single venue. It does not matter the sport that if the title is decided in this context it ensures emotion and good vibes. Because there all the hobbies leave their throats as well as the players their skin for the shield that has trapped them in one way or another. This year it has been Lleida’s turn to host a cup tournament that has two local representatives who come to the event with the illusion of a flag.
Reus Deportiu calmly watched the draw until they found out that Liceo was their rival in the quarterfinals. A highly demanding clash to begin the conquest. This could perfectly well be a cup final, but fate was capricious and he summoned two of the coconuts in the first stake. There is no denying the evidence that the Galicians start as favorites because they have a high-flying squad. However, it would be reckless to underestimate the red and black team. They have enough personality and talent to compete and win the Liceo. They already did it in the Temple in the OK League and will seek to do the same on neutral ground.
Marc Julià, one of the authorized voices in the locker room, does not hide the difficulty of the challenge: «They are the current champions. It will be a very physical game and we will try to minimize our mistakes and maximize theirs. We know it will be a long game.” In any case, he trusts the chances of the red and blacks: “If we do things well we can be in the semifinals on Saturday.”
El Calafell is no longer a surprise
Calafell didn’t have too much luck either when they found out a few days before facing Lleida in the semi-finals of the Europe Cup that the team from Lleida would also be their rival in the quarterfinals of the Cup. team that always demands sacrifice. The good thing is that the most recent precedent invites optimism and we are not talking about a trivial memory. The team from Calafell defeated Lleida in the Europe Cup in a title that they would later win, making history. That mental shield that he acquired in Paredes helps him face the Copa del Rey as another context in which to achieve glory. A priori they do not start as the first sword, but no one dares to rule out Ferran López’s men from the fight. They are not even the cover anymore, they are applicants.
“We are no longer a surprise. This year I always say it’s about construction, but that’s about competing and we’re doing very well. That gives me peace of mind. However, Lleida is not either and it is a very solid team, “says Ferran López, Calafell coach.
The conquest of the Europe Cup could be a refuge to be satisfied, but the Calafellian coach emphasizes that it should not be like that: «We do not have to settle because if we are conformists we are already beginning to lose. We go with ambition and with the intention of winning and after what we have experienced more. It is a toss-up competition that makes you get the best of yourself.
Playing against the host, but having recently defeated them in the semifinals of the continental title are two factors that are far from trivial: «It will be a game of different moments, but they start with an advantage. They play at home and with the motivation of having lost against us and that is going to cause them to come out with two more marches. We have to counteract it professionally because if we manage to hold on as the minutes go by, they can be turned against us.”