Madrid - Holders Barcelona will be looking to seal their
place in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals on Wednesday in the final instalment
of three heated Catalan derbies against Espanyol over 10 days.
The European champions hold a commanding 4-1 lead from the
first-leg which Espanyol ended with nine men after red cards for Hernan Perez
and Papakouli Diop, whilst goalkeeper Pau Lopez escaped punishment for stamping
on newly crowned Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.
However, Barca will be without the suspended Luis Suarez as
he was given a two-match ban for confronting Espanyol players in the tunnel after
the game and calling them a "waste of space".
Espanyol have also been reported to Spain's anti-violence
commission by the Spanish league for alleged racist abuse aimed at Brazilian
star Neymar during the sides' 0-0 draw in La Liga on January 2.
Barca boss Luis Enrique compared Espanyol's roughhouse
tactics to playing American football after the first-leg, but will meet with
his counterpart Constantin Galca on Tuesday to try and ease tensions between
the two clubs.
Despite their comfortable lead and a punishing schedule of
up to 17 games in January and February, Enrique is expected to start with both
Messi and Neymar in attack in Suarez's absence.
Also read: Barcelona without Suarez at Espanyol Copa return derby match
Javier Mascherano, Dani Alves, Sergio Busquets and Andres
Iniesta are also expected to return after being rested for Saturday's 4-0 rout
La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid have far more work to do to
reach the last eight after only managing a 1-1 draw with a much-changed side
away to Rayo Vallecano last week.
Atletico boss Diego Simeone has made a telling contribution
with one of his substitutes scoring in each of the last four games and insisted
he won't hold back in rotating his squad once more for the return-leg at the
Vicente Calderon on Thursday.
"We are doing things well and that gives us energy to
prepare for the game in the Copa del Rey," said the Argentine.
"We don't believe we are better or worse than any
opponents, but we have a group of 23 players that are prepared to compete at
any moment and those that come off the bench are giving us the chance to decide
Gary Neville's Valencia can put their La Liga woes to one
side by completing their passage into the quarters as they hold a 4-0 lead over
Juan Merino takes temporary charge of Real Betis, after Pepe
Mel was sacked for the second time by Los Verdiblancos on Sunday, away at local
rivals Sevilla hoping to overcome a 2-0 deficit.
The tie of the round, though, is likely to come at El
Madrigal where high-flying Villarreal look to turn around a 3-2 first-leg
defeat to last season's finalists Athletic Bilbao.For
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