The third-tier Unionistas de Salamanca host FC Barcelona in the Round of 16 of Copa del Rey, Spain’s domestic cup. Unionistas have made it far in the tournament thanks to dominant wins against Gemika and Sporting Gijon, followed by a penalty kick shootout win over top-flight Villarreal. Can Barcelona shake off their woes after an embarrassing loss to Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup? Read on to access an expert Unionistas vs Barcelona prediction and explore stats and the latest Copa del Rey odds.
- Unionistas de Salamanca CF vs FC Barcelona, Copa del Rey Round of 16
- January 18, 2024
- 1:30 PM EST
- Campo de Futbol Reina Sofia, Salamanca, Spain
Unionistas vs Barcelona Prediction: Who do Sportsbooks Favor?
It is hard to make hyperboles of Barcelona’s chances of winning in this match. From a betting perspective, it is almost a complete wash, but as they always say, that’s why we play the game. Unionistas de Salamanca are (+2000) underdogs, good for just an implied probability of just 4.8%. Barcelona are (-909) favorites accordingly, and a draw is an improbable (+800).
|Copa del Rey
Copa del Rey Odds and Format
Fondly referred to as Copa del Rey or La Copa by many, the Campeonato de España–Copa de Su Majestad el Rey stands as the premier Spanish domestic knockout tournament. Triumph in the Copa del Rey ensures a coveted spot in the UEFA Europa League for the subsequent season.
Barcelona claims the top spot as the most successful club in the competition, boasting an impressive record of 31 Spanish Cup titles. Athletic Bilbao follows closely with 23 titles, while Real Madrid secures the third position with 20. Real Madrid, the reigning champion, achieved victory against Osasuna in the 2023 final. A total of 126 clubs from various leagues and levels across the nation compete for the prestigious trophy. This year, the final is set to take place at La Cartuja in Seville on April 6, 2024.
Except for the semifinals, each round follows a single-match format. Barcelona entered the Round of 32 as La Liga members, knocking off Barbastro in the process. Unionistas have climbed all the way up from the very beginning of the tournament to meet Barcelona.
Unionistas Team News and Recent Games
The lowest-ranked team left in Copa del Rey, Unionistas will welcome Barcelona to their humble grounds for one of their most monumental matches in recent memory. Less than 5,000 fans can fit into Campo de Futbol Reina Sofia, but expect a raucous atmosphere nonetheless.
Dani Ponz’s squad geared up for Thursday’s eagerly awaited clash with a 2-1 victory over Rayo Majadahonda in Saturday’s Primera Division match. Hector Nespral and Ramiro Mayor were the key contributors to the triumph. Yet facing the formidable Blaugrana giants poses an unparalleled challenge for Unionistas.
Barcelona Recent Form and Injury Updates
While Barcelona has managed to secure the necessary victories to stay in the La Liga title race, it hasn’t been a smooth ride. The Barca faithful express concern as a string of one-goal victories against notably weaker opponents raises eyebrows. Notably, in their last 12 wins, Barcelona has consistently triumphed by a narrow one-goal margin. This trend even extended to a match against fourth-tier UD Barbastro in their most recent Copa del Rey encounter.
In other personnel news, two players will be relegated to the sidelines on Thursday. Araujo is set to serve a one-game suspension following his sending-off against Real Madrid, while Lamine Yamal completes a two-game cup suspension stemming from a prior incident at the youth level.
Furthermore, several players nursing injuries, including Gavi, Marcos Alonso, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Raphinha, and Inigo Martinez, continue their recovery on the treatment table. Additionally, Joao Cancelo is deemed highly unlikely to be included in the lineup.
Unionistas vs Barcelona Prediction and Free Betting Pick
In the first-ever clash between these two sides, Unionistas de Salamanca will look to capitalize on a depleted, dejected, and jet-lagged FC Barcelona in arguably the biggest game of their short history. Unionistas will look to replicate the successes of similar clubs like fourth-tier UD Barbastro and keep the game close. To do so, it will take some defense and some luck.
Barcelona will most likely opt to go for youth in their lineup due to a lengthy injury list. These players are likely to have some jitters and may not be quick to mesh on the pitch. With that in mind, I think the cards are stacked in favor of Unionistas avoiding a blowout and making this match look somewhat respectable.
The best value on Unionistas is currently in the Asian handicap market, in which the line is currently set around 2.25 or 2.5, depending on the book. Bovada is offering a line of (-125) on +2.5 for Unionistas, a number I like quite a bit. I wrote in detail about Barcelona’s struggles to separate against bad teams recently, and tipped the under in their match against Osasuna accordingly. I think the same reasoning applies here.
Top Sportsbooks for Copa del Rey Odds
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