Copa del Rey: Barca to seal progression to round of 16

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Copa del Rey: Barca to seal progression to round of 16
Barcelona are aiming to book their place in the last 16 of the Copa del Rey when they take on Hércules at the Camp Nou, following the 1-1 draw in the first leg.

Luis Enrique’s side carry a narrow advantage on the away goals rule thanks to the long range strike from Carles Aleñá in Alicante but will nevertheless be going all out for the win in the final game of 2016.

Team news

Leo Messi, Luis Suárez, Neymar Jr and Gerard Piqué will not be in Wednesday’s squad after the manager allowed them permission to begin their Christmas holidays early following the win over Espanyol.

In a decision taken by Hércules manager Luis Tevenet, all members of the playing staff will be making the journey to Barcelona, despite the fact that just 16 players can be registered for the matchday squad.

Form

Barça’s recent form has improved since the 1-1 draw in Alicante on 30 November. After winning just one game in four after that result, the Catalans have won three matches in a row: Borussia Mönchengladbach at home (4-0), Osasuna away (3-0) and Espanyol (4-1)at the Camp Nou.

Hércules have done exactly the same since the last meeting between the sides, earning straight wins over Atlético Baleares, Mallorca B and Cornella.

Head to Head

The last cup tie between the teams met was in 1995/96, when Barça went through after a 4-1 win at Camp Nou following a 0-0 draw away. In 1956, Hércules managed a 1-1 draw in Barcelona, but a 2-1 win away was enough to see Barça through.

The last meeting between the two at the Camp Nou was, in fact, a 2-0 shock win for Hércules in La Liga in 2010.

Coaches’ quotes

Luis Enrique - Barcelona coach

"improve in various areas against very defensive teams, such as the circulation of the ball, committing enough players forward and pressing quickly when the ball is lost."

Tevenet - Hércules manager

"We are aware that it will be tough, that we are facing a great opponent and that we have to score a goal,” but Tevenet believes his side’s task is “not impossible”.

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