FC Barcelona return to action, 3 days after that beautiful display against Granada, as they take on Segunda B side UD Ibiza in the Round of 32 clash of the Copa Del Rey tonight. Quique Setien’s side will travel to the southern island, hoping to continue the rhythm in Estadi Municipal de Can Misses‘s artificial turf. The match kicks off at 11:45 PM (NST).
Quique Setien has started his Barcelona tenure brilliantly, suddenly re-igniting the side that was supposedly with players that lacked focus, management that lacked direction and the fans that lacked enthusiasm. Barcelona matches were nothing short of dire under Ernesto Valverde and the frustration was quite visible.
Only three first-team players: Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets, and Gerard Pique are given the rest as FC Barcelona have announced their 18 men squad list, this time way before the kickoff.Considering the new format that has made the tie one legged knockout fixture, Setien looks to play it safe without minimal risks.
The 18 men squad list for the trip to Ibiza are:
Goalkeepers: 1. Marc-André ter Stegen, 13. Neto
Defenders: 2. Nélson Semedo, 15. Clément Lenglet, 18. Jordi Alba, 20. Sergi Roberto, 23. Samuel Umtiti, 24. Junior Firpo, 40. Chumi
Midfielders: 4. Ivan Rakitic, 8. Arthur, 21. Frenkie de Jong, 22. Arturo Vidal, 28. Riqui Puig
Forwards: 17. Griezmann, 27. C. Perez, 29. Abel Ruiz, 31. Ansu Fati
Setien’s arrival sparked hope amongst everyone and as expected, his team delivered beautifully. Busquets’ revival, Messi getting more touches in the final third and Barca holding the lead through possession were some strong hints that fellow cules are in for a treat. The match, however, ended 1-0 with Barca lacking the finishing touch. So, it is important to see how the team fares this match versus an inferior opponent but also with an inferior squad.
UD Ibiza: Germán; Morillas, Alves, Gonzalo, Aguilera; Lara, Nunez, Mateo; Caballe, Jareno, Kike.
Barcelona: Neto; Semedo, Chumi, Lenglet, Junior; Arthur, De Jong, Puig; Perez, Griezmann, Ansu.
UD Ibiza are currently standing 3rd in their Segunda B group, 2 points shy of the leaders Atletico Madrid B. Since the underdogs UD Ibiza have nothing to lose, they are going to go all out against Barca, aiming to ruin their party.
Ibiza coach Pablo Alfaro seems pretty grateful, stating that the match is a gift for them. He, however, has warned Barça saying that the match is going to be a war. The build-up to the match has been interesting, let us see how the actual match enfolds.