Mallorca aims to leverage their home field to gain an early advantage as they host Real Sociedad at Estadi Mallorca Son Moix for the Copa del Rey semi-finals on Tuesday night.
The home team is coming into this game after a 4-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao in La Liga last Friday, while Real Sociedad had a 0-0 tie with Girona in Spain’s top league on Saturday.
Mallorca is working to clinch the Copa del Rey title for only the second time, their first victory being in 2002-03 with a 3-0 win against Recreativo de Huelva in the final.
Known as the Pirates, they’ve reached the final two more times – in 1990-91 and 1997-98. However, among the remaining four teams this season, they’re seen as the least likely to win, with another semi-final featuring Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao.
To get to this point in the Copa del Rey, Mallorca has secured wins in five matches against Boiro, Valle Egues, Burgos, Tenerife, and Girona.
Javier Aguirre’s team is facing this match after consecutive defeats to Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao in La Liga, including the recent 4-0 loss, placing them 15th in the standings, just four points clear of relegation.
Mallorca hasn’t beaten Real Sociedad since 2012 and faced a 1-0 loss in their league encounter earlier this season.
On the other hand, Real Sociedad comes into this match following a draw with Girona, currently standing sixth in La Liga.
Imanol Alguacil’s team is 10 points from the top four, hindered by too many draws (10) in their 23 matches, preventing a higher league position.
The Basque team is pursuing trophies in two cup competitions, including a Champions League last-16 match against Paris Saint-Germain soon.
Real Sociedad has also won five Copa del Rey matches this season, beating Bunol, Andratx, Malaga, Osasuna, and Celta Vigo, allowing just one goal.
They have won the Copa del Rey twice, in 1986-87 and 2019-20, including a penalty shootout victory over Atletico Madrid and a 1-0 win against Athletic.
The return leg will be at Anoeta Stadium on February 27, with the victor facing either Athletic or Atletico in the final.
Mallorca Copa del Rey form:
Mallorca form (all competitions):
Real Sociedad Copa del Rey form:
Real Sociedad form (all competitions):
Mallorca will miss Pablo Maffeo due to a knee injury but are otherwise well-prepared for Tuesday’s match.
Abdon Prats, who scored twice against Girona, is expected to lead the attack.
Vedat Muriqi is still returning from injury, likely continuing his recovery off the pitch, with Cyle Larin playing alongside Prats. Omar Mascarell is anticipated to start in midfield.
Real Sociedad will be without Sheraldo Becker, Alvaro Odriozola, Kieran Tierney, Aihen Munoz, and Carlos Fernandez due to injuries.
Takefusa Kubo and Hamari Traore are doubtful for the match following their teams’ exits from international tournaments.
Coach Alguacil plans to adjust his lineup from the Girona match, with Mikel Merino, Ander Barrenetxea, and Robin Le Normand expected to start in the semi-final’s first leg.
Mallorca possible starting lineup:
Gonzalez, Valjent, Raillo, Copete, Costa;
A Sanchez, Mascarell, D Rodriguez;
Real Sociedad possible starting lineup:
Aramburu, Zubeldia, Le Normand, Galan;
Mendez, Zubimendi, Merino;
Oyarzabal, A Silva, Barrenetxea
Prediction: Mallorca 1-2 Real Sociedad
While Mallorca has shown strong performance in this season’s competition, we predict a tight game on Tuesday.
Despite missing several key players, we believe Real Sociedad will manage a slim lead to take into the second leg later in the month.