Thu, 26 May 2022

MADRID, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- There is plenty of football taking place in Spain over the coming days with a mixture of Copa del Rey last 16 ties and five games from Matchday 21 in La Liga.

The three Copa del Rey ties promise to be thrilling, with the four teams who competed in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia over the last five days all in action.

Wednesday sees beaten Super Cup semifinalists Atletico Madrid travel to play Real Sociedad in the Reale Arena, with the two teams aiming to join Rayo Vallecano, Cadiz, Real Mallorca, Valencia and Real Betis in the quarterfinals.

Atletico paid a heavy price in their defeat to Athletic Bilbao last Thursday with the loss of Geoffrey Kondogbia and Marcos Llorente to injury, while Antoine Griezmann also misses the return to his former club.

Thursday sees Athletic and FC Barcelona repeat their 2020 quarterfinal in the San Mames Stadium, with Barca looking to confirm their improvement under Xavi Hernandez and with the return of Pedri and Ansu Fati against the losing Super Cup finalists.

Athletic have home advantage, but will be tired after playing the final on Sunday night and only arriving home in the early hours of Monday morning.

Real Madrid visit an improving Elche on Thursday and Carlo Ancelotti will also have to deal with tired legs as the club will to give a fitting homage to club legend Paco Gento, who passed away on Tuesday.

There are five matches in La Liga, which start on Tuesday as Betis play Deportivo Alaves and Espanyol visit Cadiz.

The Betis game is played under a cloud over the incident which saw Sevilla's Joan Jordan taken to hospital after being hit by a pole thrown from the crowd in their Copa del Rey derby on Saturday.

The game had to be concluded behind closed doors on Sunday and Betis can expect a heavy punishment for the incident, with their ground likely to be closed for several matches.

The game in Cadiz sees new home coach Sergio Gonzalez come face to face with one of his former clubs. Sergio's first game as Cadiz coach saw them qualify for the quarterfinals of the Copa del Rey in Gijon, but avoiding relegation is Cadiz's main aim for the season.

Wednesday's league games see Celta Vigo look to return to form at home to Osasuna, while there is a vital match as Sevilla entertain Valencia.

A win for Sevilla would lift them to within two points of Real Madrid at the top of the table, but coach Julen Lopetegui is down to the bare bones of his squad through injury and the African Cup of Nations, and he will hope Jordan can play after Saturday's incident.

The final league match on Thursday pits Getafe, who are improving rapidly under Quique Sanchez Flores, against Granada, who have also climbed away from danger in recent weeks.

The remaining matches from Matchday 21 - Atletico Madrid vs Levante, FC Barcelona vs Rayo Vallecano and Mallorca vs Real Sociedad - have all been postponed due to Cup commitments and will be played at a later date.

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