Barcelona, giants of world football, are preparing to take on minnows Hercules at Estadio José Rico Pérez in the Copa Del Rey round of 32 match on Wednesday. The visitors should not have any problem in defeating Hercules, though big stars of Barcelona, including Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are not expected to feature in the competition. Their absence will open the doors for young guns in the team.
Though some of the Barcelona players might be given rest, keeping in mind their massive match against Real Madrid on Saturday, selected players for the Copa Del Rey clash will have to deliver and defeat Hercules.
Barcelona have come under scrutiny of late as they have not been able to perform as expected this season. Barcelona drew with Real Sociedad 1-1 in their last La Liga encounter, and are six points away from table topper Real Madrid. Hence, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is under some sort of pressure, and another poor performance, irrespective of the competition, will not help his cause.
Barcelona are favourites against Hercules, but one has witnessed in the past with lower tier clubs defeating massive teams.
The Spanish giants have been stupendous in the competition, winning the Copa Del Rey 28 times, and are searching for hat-trick of title wins after lifting the last two editions. Enrique is not looking too much ahead, but just wants to defeat Hercules.
"We are returning to a competition in which we have great memories and to win it again first of all we need to beat Hércules. It is obvious that there is a difference in level but we have seen lots of times how teams from lower divisions have knocked out those from the first division," club's official website quoted Enrique as saying.
Hercules are second favourite in the contest, but they will hope that their supporters play an important role in the clash by supporting the team like never before and inspire them to give it their all. They are going to be on the defensive end, with Barca expected to dominate possession. They do not have star players, but will look forward to key midfielder Chechu Flores, and hope he will deliver against Barcelona.
Where to watch live
Hercules vs Barcelona Copa del Rey match is scheduled for 10 pm local time start (2.30 am IST, 9pm GMT, 4 pm ET). Live TV listings and streaming options can be found below.
India: TV: No coverage
UK: TV: No coverage
Spain: Movistar+, BeIN Sports. Live streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
Middle East: TV: BeIN Sports 3 . Live streaming: Bein Sports Connect.
US: BeIN Sports. Live streaming: Bein Sports Connect
Sub Saharan Africa countries: TV: SuperSport. Live Streaming: SuperSport Live Video.