Real Sociedad vs Mirandes: Copa del Rey semi-final first leg preview

Thursday, February 13th, 2020 2:29pm

By Ali McDowall

Photo credit- Real Sociedad website (https://www.realsociedad.eus/en/news/details/amazing-week)

Favourites Sociedad look to get the better of giant-killers Mirandes in tonight’s Copa del Rey semi-final first leg. 

After a stunning victory over La Liga leaders Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, Imanol Alguacil’s side are now the front-runners to win the cup and put an end to a 33-year wait for a trophy in the process. 

However, Mirandes dispatched Celta Vigo, Villareal, and Sevilla on their way to this semi-final clash and will look to further demonstrate their giant-killing credentials against their toughest test to date. 

On paper Sociedad should ease into the final and set up a Basque derby with Athletic Bilbao who themselves got off to a winning start with a dominant 1-0 victory over Granada in last night’s first leg. 

La Real come into this game off the back of a sensational week; having produced a remarkable display against Madrid - were they won 4-3 - they followed it up by defeating their rivals in the Basque derby and with Alexander Isak in fine form with 12 goals in as many appearances, few would bet against them tonight. 

Mirandes arrive in San Sebastian as outsiders but that won't deter the visitors during their latest Copa adventure.

The minnows are not to be underestimated as their sights are firmly set on a first Copa final appearance in their history having netted 17 times on their way to the semi and are currently enjoying a 12-game unbeaten run heading into tonight’s match. 

Led by former Athletic star Andoni Iraola, they have the belief and quality to cause Real problems, but they will find it difficult over the two legs; this is the first time they’ve had to take on a top flight side away from home and if La Real are at their best, it may turn into a damage limitation exercise for the visitors. 

But if they are still in it when they play hosts to Sociedad for the second leg then anything could happen. 

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Team news

Real Sociedad 

Alguacil has no new injuries to deal with but remains without experienced midfield duo Asier Illarramendi and David Zurutuza.

Andoni Gorosabel sits this game out after being sent off in La Real’s incredible 4-3 win at Real Madrid, but Portu — who’ll be serving a one-match ban in La Liga — is available for selection.

Meanwhile, centre-back Diego Llorente is unlikely to be risked for the first leg having suffered a muscle injury against Real Mallorca last month that has forced him to miss the last two league games. 

Alguacil is likely to name his strongest side available to build an advantage from the home leg and so could reintroduce Isak and Adnan Januzaj back into the starting XI.

Mirandes

Andoni Iraola goes into this contest with almost a fully available squad to choose from and could make changes from the side that eliminated Villarreal in the quarter-finals.

Left-back Enric Franquesa is the main concern for Mirandes after he hobbled off in the win over Villarreal last week.

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