Espanyol met yesterday the first rival of the Copa del Rey, whose news this season is that even the semifinals will be played in a single match. Lleida will be the first hurdle of a squad of parakeets looking to this competition, with LaLiga urgencies and the illusions placed in Europe. The meeting will be held at Camp d 'Esports between December 16, 17 and 18.
Interestingly, the first blues opponent is an old acquaintance of Espanyol and he already knows what it is to eliminate him in this competition by playing a single game. It was in the 2001-02 campaign. In the finals, the parrots, coached at the time by Paco Flores and two editions had increased the title, lost 1-0 with a goal from Nakor 90 minutes into the game. The alignment of this meeting was formed by Mora, Fran, Soldevilla, Rotchen, David García, Munteanu, Bruno Saltor, Alex Fernández, Morales, Posse and Tamudo. The coach barely booked players, but the match, which corresponded all the time, was decided in the end by the residents. Lucas, Palencia and Manel also left after the break to try to avoid a blushing elimination.
By that time Espanyol will have clarified their situation in LaLiga as they have played against Getafe, Osasuna and Betis at RCDE Stadium and against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu. The situation in LaLiga may be better if you add multiple wins. The Europa League will also be determined in the group stage, after playing against Ferencvaros and CSKA Moscow before the Cup.
Pablo Machín is clear about group management, prioritizing LaLiga and lining up another different team in the Europa League. One of the hopes in this competition is the good performance of this second unit in the European competition, as it won both games played. Espanyol will have one more illusion.