New Copa del Rey system is a welcome change in Spanish football
The Copa del Rey took a very interesting turn yesterday as both Madrid and Barcelona got knocked out of the competition, losing to Sociedad and Bilbao respectively and it was the first time in 10 years that both clubs would fail to make it to the semifinal of the competition.
Real Sociedad faced a daunting task of playing Madrid at the Bernabeu and surprisingly up 1-4 by minute 69′ and went on to end Los Blancos’ 21-game unbeaten run which stretches back to last year October. Bilbao on the other hand took advantage of their home advantage and squeezed out a last-gasp 1-0 win against Barcelona.
The new competition format is a single match-up until semifinals played at the team playing in a lower division. This new format gives teams a better chance of progressing compared to the previous home-and-away format.
If there were to be a second leg, Barcelona fans would be licking their lips right now knowing what they could do at Camp Nou and I’m sure Zidane and his boys would fancy a comeback too.
Now other teams in Spain can prioritize Copa del Rey as they have a more realistic chance of winning the trophy.
Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad, Granada and Mirandes are surely fancying their chances to win this year’s trophy with the absence of Spanish heavyweights; Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Barcelona still holds the record for Copa del Rey wins with 30. Bilbao has won 23 more than Real Madrid’s 19 and will sure be looking to make it 24.