MADRID - Reaching the King's Cup final is
of even greater importance than usual for Real Madrid following
a demoralising setback in La Liga.
Jose Mourinho's side defend a 1-0 lead in their semi-final
second leg at home to holders Sevilla on Wednesday
knowing their chances of overhauling league leaders Barcelona
suffered serious damage with a shock 1-0 defeat at Osasuna.
That result left them seven points adrift of Pep Guardiola's
champions, who visit struggling Almeria with a healthy 5-0
first-leg advantage in the other semi-final.
"We always have to focus on the next game and give nothing
up as lost," Real Madrid captain Iker Casillas said. "Now we
have to lift ourselves and think about the cup because we are
only one step from the final."
Mourinho is expected to have Xabi Alonso back to provide a
steadying influence in midfield after recovering from flu and
new loan signing Emmanuel Adebayor will have had more time to
get to know his new team mates.
Real, who last lifted the cup in 1993, have won every home
game this season.
Sevilla showed grit to come back from two goals down and
draw 3-3 with 10-men at Deportivo Coruna on Saturday. They could
be tempted to throw new signings Ivan Rakitic and Gary Medel
into the fray.
Jesus Navas and Ndri Romaric should be available again after
missing the Depor trip.
Barca are expected to field fringe players against Almeria,
who are second-bottom of La Liga and have never reached the cup
final, and will probably be without Spain midfielder Andres
Iniesta who has a shoulder strain.
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