Our prediction for this Copa del Rey match:
Seeing that Real Betis and Espanyol played out a 1-1 draw in Catalonia in the Copa del Rey, first leg, yet another close encounter is on the cards. The two teams face each other at Estadio Benito Villamarin on Wednesday evening and los Beticos are widely expected to defend their “slim lead” as they are a real force to be reckoned with at home. The Andalusians have slim chances of booking their place in European competitions through La Liga, meaning that they are going to take the Spanish Cup clash against Espanyol very seriously. Los Periquitos experienced all sorts of problems at the back in a 4-2 loss to Real Madrid at the weekend, which is yet another reason why we are tempted to put our money on the hosts. It has to be noted that Real Betis recorded a 1-0 win over Espanyol in their last meeting in Seville.
Highlighted Player (Aissa Mandi):
Aissa Mandi is a product of Reims’ youth school. After playing eight matches for Reims II in the 2009/2010 season, he started playing for the first team in 2010. Mandi made his Reims debut against Le Havre on 20 August, 2010 and he remained at Stade Auguste Delaune until 30 June, 2016, when he decided to join Spanish side Real Betis.
The Algeria international, who was born in Chalons-en-Champagne, France, signed a five-year contract with los Beticos which expires on 30 June, 2021. His main position is centre back, but he is capable of playing as a full back as well. The right-footed defender made his Algeria debut on 5 March, 2014 and he helped the Algerian national team keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Slovenia.
Mandi impressed at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, but he scored his first goal for Algeria in a 3-3 draw with Ethiopia in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers. He represented Algeria at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations as well.
Highlighted Team (Espanyol):
Espanyol are a Catalan club that plays in Spanish La Liga. Espanyol were founded in 1900 and their original name was Sociedad Espanola de Football. In 1901 the Catalan club changed its name to Club Espanol de Futbol. Los Periquitos used to play in bright yellow shirts in the past, but current colour of the team’s home kit is blue and white.
Espanyol’s fiercest rivals are Barcelona and the two teams face each other in the Catalan derby (Derbi barceloni). Espanyol have always been in Barca’s shadow, but it has to be noted that los Periquitos have won four Copa del Rey (Spanish Cup trophies).
The likes of Raul Tamudo, Jose Maria, Antonio Argiles and Mauricio Pochettino are players with most appearances for the Catalan outfit. Espanyol play their home games at Estadio Cornella-El Prat and the capacity of the stadium is 40,500. Los Periquitos have never participated in the Champions League.