Still licking the wounds of the undeniable defeat for Barcelona, Real Madrid opens on Thursday, January 4, its calendar for 2018. Starting at 18h (Brasília time) will face Numancia. The match is the first of the duel that is worth a place in the quarterfinals of the King’s Cup. It will be held at the Nuevo Estadio Los Pajaritos in Soria.
The second match is scheduled for January 10 at the Santiago Bernabeu. In case of equality in the number of points won, the definition of the survivor will be made through the balance of goals and, if necessary, by the number of goals scored away from home.
Numancia’s recent performance
Numancia closed 2017 with a good phase in the Second Division of the Spanish Championship. He made his last match on December 21, defeating at home Sevilla B by 3 to 0 increasing to 5 a sequence without defeats (three victories and two ties).
With 35 points (ten wins, five draws and five losses), the series of good results led the team to fifth place. He’s in the qualifying zone to fight for a spot in LaLiga in the playoffs. This right is reserved for teams that are between the third and sixth positions. The direct classification for the elite division of Spanish football is reserved only to the first two placed. In this fight, the closest rival of the Numancia is Cadiz, vice-leader, with only one more point.
By having real chances to rise, the King’s Cup ends up in the background. Numancia debuted in the tournament in the third round, when the spot was still set in single play. As a visitor, they drew 1-1 with Gijon and only advanced to win the penalty shootout. Then in two games, he passed Málaga, the First Division. The home crowd was not pleased with that one. 2 – 1 was the score after the first half.
The current form of Real Madrid
The joy of winning the world title by defeating the Grêmio, by 1 to 0, lasted little for the players of Madrid. In his first game after raising the cup, the team of the capital was run over by Barcelona in the heart of the Bernabeu. It took 3 to 0 ruthlessly.
In addition to the psychological shock of picking up at home to the greatest rival, the game also left the club in extremely delicate situation in defense of his title in the Spanish Championship. With 31 points (nine wins, four draws and three losses), Real are in fourth place to close the qualifying zone for the 2018/2019 Champions League.
The difference for Barcelona, leader and undefeated, is 14 points. Although the Real still has one more game to complete and there are 21 remaining rounds to play, reversing that scenario seems like an almost impossible task.
That should make coach Zinedine Zidane focus his attention on the second half of the season in the Champions League and also the King’s Cup. This change of attitude will probably be noticed already on Thursday. The coach has cast mixed teams or almost entirely reserves in the duels of the King’s Cup. This time, however, should use if not all a large number of players who are considered starters.
Presence right is right-back Daniel Carbajal. He received a red card in the game against Barcelona and because he is suspended he will not be able to play on Sunday, January 7, against Celta, for the eighteenth round of the Spanish Championship. Without any problem of suspension or injury between the holders, it will be up to Zidane to define the strategy of using his squad for the match.
History of the matches
In the eight times they met, the Real won six games, the Numancia one and was also recorded a draw.
The Real clearly needs a convincing victory to give an answer to their fans after the thrashing against Barcelona. That should mean that virtually all of its top players will be scaled on Thursday. In this way, the capital team is the best guessing option. It has a price of 1.22 in Rivalo. Draw returns 6.50. The owners of the house are considered the biggest underdogs of Thursday’s schedule of the King’s Cup with a return of 11.00 per 1 on success.