The pairings for the final 16 of Spain’s Copa del Rey have been set, with Yunus Musah and Valencia drawing the easiest possible opponent to set a clear path to the quarterfinals.
Following the completion of this week’s round-of-32 games, which saw all three teams with Americans on the roster come away victorious, albeit with a good amount of late drama, the matchups for what will be a disrupted final 16 were set on Friday afternoon.
Due to scheduling conflicts with the Supercopa de España, which is being staged this year as a four-team tournament in Saudi Arabia, three of the eight games will have to be moved from their normal mid-January date.
One game that is unaffected by the logjam is the visit of Valencia to Atlético Baleares, who compete in the third level of the Spanish pyramid. Yunus Musah has been impressive as a starter for Valencia in all three of their Copa games so far, and will likely resume the role against heavy underdogs.
Valencia reached the third round by way of their last-second victory over second-division Cartagena, and will be pleased that they drew the last remaining team in the competition outside of the top two tiers.
American international Sergiño Dest has been a non-factor for Barcelona during the last two-plus months, due to a pair of untimely injuries and a more recent positive Covid test. He is now back with the team, and barring a rumored loan deal coming to fruition, will be in line to take part when they visit Athletic Bilbao in a re-run of last year’s Copa final.
This game is one of the three impacted by the concurrent Supercopa, which features both of these teams teams, and is preliminarily rescheduled for the midweek window of January 19-20.
RCD Mallorca also had to sweat out their eventual 2-1 victory over Eibar in the previous round, but were rewarded with a home game against fellow La Liga team Espanyol. Matthew Hoppe is still recovering from an extended leg injury, and with local media reports indicating a late-January return and possible loan, it is unlikely that he will participate in the game.
Most of the games are set to be played on Saturday, January 15, however the three matches involving the four teams competing in the Supercopa de España in Saudi Arabia during that timeframe – Barcelona, Real Madrid, Atlético Madrid and Athletic Bilbao – are preliminarily set to take place during the following midweek.
Copa del Rey Round of 16 draw
Atlético Baleares – Valencia CF (Yunus Musah)
Athletic Bilbao – FC Barcelona (Sergiño Dest)
RCD Mallorca (Matthew Hoppe) – Espanyol