Girona and Rayo Vallecano are set to battle it out at Estadio Municipal de Montilivi in a thrilling Copa del Rey encounter.
Both teams are vying for a spot in the quarter-finals of Spain’s prestigious domestic cup competition. Girona has a history of reaching the last eight only once, while Rayo Vallecano is yet to reach the final.
Following Real Madrid’s absence from La Liga, Girona took advantage and reclaimed the top spot with a goalless draw against Almeria.
However, Girona displayed a lackluster performance, barely avoiding a defeat against the league’s bottom-placed team. With their eyes on hosting Sevilla on Sunday, this cup tie against Rayo Vallecano could provide a welcome reprieve for Girona.
Rayo Vallecano has been punching above their weight in recent seasons.
Although they spent only one season in La Liga between 2016-17 and 2020-21, they have managed to avoid relegation danger since then under the guidance of former manager Andoni Iraola.
Francisco, his successor, has maintained stability at Estadio de Vallecas and will be determined to create history by leading Rayo Vallecano to their first-ever Copa del Rey final.
Girona will be without Aleix Garcia due to his dismissal in the previous match against Almeria.
Other players expected to miss out due to injury include David Lopez, Joel Roca Casals, Ricard Artero, Toni Villa, and Eric Garcia.
Manager Michel may look to Cristhian Stuani, Viktor Tysgankov, and Savio in the attacking line after their impressive performances as substitutes.
Rayo Vallecano will be without Pathe Ciss and Bebe, who are away on international duty. Additionally, Oscar Trejo is likely to miss out due to a muscle strain.
Francisco is likely to stick with the same starting XI that secured a victory against Huesca in their previous Copa del Rey match.
Martinez, Juanpe, Blind, Gutierrez;
Tsygankov, Portu, Savio;
Rayo Vallecano: (4-4-2)
Ratiu, Mumin, Pascual, Espino;
De Frutos, Lopez, Mendez, Chavarria;
Nteka, De Tomas
Prediction: Girona 2-1 Rayo Vallecano
In what promises to be an exciting cup tie between two of Spain’s rising clubs, Girona and Rayo Vallecano will battle it out for a spot in the quarter-finals. Girona, despite their lackluster performance against Almeria, have shown great form throughout the season and are currently leading La Liga.
Rayo Vallecano, on the other hand, has maintained their momentum from the last two seasons. However, we predict Girona to perform closer to their peak levels and secure a 2-1 victory, advancing to the quarter-finals for only the second time in their history.