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5 things to know about the Copa del Rey as Barcelona, Madrid in command
MADRID - The Copa del Rey is one the schedule this week in Spain with Barcelona and Real Madrid closing in on the quarterfinals following opening victories.
Defending champion Atletico Madrid holds an away-goals advantage over Valencia, while lower-tier clubs Alcorcon and Racing Santander look to reach the quarterfinals.
Here are five things to know going into the second leg of the round of 16:
Atletico will need to avoid a dip in intensity when it hosts Valencia following a tense, scoreless draw against Barcelona on Saturday that maintained its place as co-leader of the Spanish league at the midway point of the season.
Valencia is looking to raise its game at the Vicente Calderon on Tuesday after following up the 1-1 first leg result with a 2-1 league loss to Celta Vigo.
"Any team that is looking to make a mark always to be playing to the limit," Valencia coach Juan Pizzi said. "Intensity is the most basic thing in football."
Valencia midfielder Ever Banega is expected to return from an ankle sprain while fullback Jeremy Mathieu looks to be sidelined.
Barcelona does not have fond cup memories of Getafe's Coliseum Alfonso Perez Stadium.
The Catalan club secured a 5-2 first-leg victory in the 2006-07 semifinals, marked by one of Lionel Messi's most memorable goals when the Argentina forward slalomed through Getafe's team like Diego Maradona did in scoring against England in the 1986 World Cup.
But Barcelona was humiliated 4-0 in the return at Getafe to miss out on the final.
This time around, Barcelona holds a 4-0 advantage with Messi and Neymar back in the squad and fully healthy, although Andres Iniesta may be rested after picking up a knock against Atletico on Saturday.
Barcelona, a 26-time champion, is unbeaten in eight games overall going into Thursday's game.
Osasuna will feel it still has a chance of knocking Real Madrid out of the competition after limiting the Spanish giant to a 2-0 first-leg victory.
Cristiano Ronaldo failed to convert a handful of opportunities, which he is not likely to be so easily afforded at El Sadar Stadium on Wednesday.
While Ronaldo's uncharacteristic misses have raised eyebrows, so did Gareth Bale's ineffectiveness in a 1-0 win at Espanyol on Sunday.
NO MORE CINDERELLAS
The Copa del Rey's drawn-out, two-leg series don't seem to be catching on in football-crazy Spain, especially with the small clubs having little chance of upsetting top teams.
Only 1,500 spectators attended third-tier club Racing Santander's 1-1 home draw against Almeria, the same total that watched Alcorcon beat Espanyol 1-0 at home.
The two-leg series has limited small clubs chances in the competition, with the last substantial upset coming in six seasons ago when Alcorcon knocked Madrid out of the competition following a 4-0 win at home to start.
Alcorcon holds a 1-0 advantage travelling to Espanyol, where a win could improve its chances of facing Madrid again for the first time since that famous victory.
Villarreal and Real Sociedad will certainly have had enough of each other by the time this round is over.
The two teams played to a scoreless draw last week and they meet in the Spanish league on Monday. Sociedad will likely just stick around with the pair playing at El Madrigal in the return leg on Thursday.
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