Barcelona aiming to continue rampant run in Copa del Rey clash
Barcelona will be hoping to reach their 36th Copa del Rey final with a victory over Spanish rivals Villarreal in a semi-final second leg encounter, having comfortably established a 3-1 lead at the Nou Camp last month.
Luis Enrique’s Catalan giants, 15/8 with Coral to win and both teams to score, are aiming to dethrone holders and bitter El Clasico counterparts Real Madrid by securing their first Spanish Cup coup since 2012.
Barca will be confident of easing past the Yellow Submarine and continuing their fine free-scoring form this term, with goals from Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Gerard Pique having built a secure first leg lead.
Barcelona have been on a sublime run this year, having won 13 of their previous 14 games in all competitions, including seven consecutive away victories.
Marcelino Garcia Toral’s sixth-placed La Liga side face an extremely tough task, with the hosts having not beaten their constant conquerors since March 2008. The home side are available at 7/1 to cause an upset with both teams scoring.
Apart from injury-plagued defender Thomas Vermaelen, Barca boss Enrique will have a fully fit squad to choose from, while Villarreal will be without influential midfielder Bruno Soriano, as well as Bojan Jokic, Adrian Marin and Antonio Rukavina.
Messi has a rampant record against Toral’s men, having struck in four of his last five outings against the European-hopefuls, and he is 16/5 to open proceedings at the Camp El Madrigal.
In-form forward Luciano Vietto has been linked with a switch to the Premier League in recent weeks, following his scoring exploits this season. The 21-year-old Argentine is 19/10 to net anytime and add to his impressive tally of 16 goals, having already struck in this fixture last year.
Promising Spanish midfielder Manu Trigueros enjoys playing the Catalans, after bagging a goal in this fixture for two consecutive campaigns. He is 5/1 to strike again anytime in his latest outing.
The sides have met three times already this term, with Barcelona winning on every occasion. However, Villarreal are unbeaten against their superior opponents in this competition at home, having drawn the previous two meetings, and the hosts are 4/1 to pick up a rare win.
Meanwhile, in the other semi-final encounter, Espanyol contest Athletic Bilbao, with the home side seeking to reach their first Copa del Rey final since 2006.
The tie stands in the balance after a 1-1 draw at the San Mames, with Victor Sanchez’s second-half effort cancelling out an Aritz Adruiz opener.
Espanyol striker Christian Stuani will be looking to celebrate his recent new contract extension with the club, by firing them to victory, with the hosts available at 5/4 to emerge victorious.