The Spanish Cup doesn’t have the kudos of its English counterpart among Spanish clubs but there is no doubting the desire of Getafe and Valencia to win the final of the Copa Del Rey on Wednesday.
For Getafe, triumphing in the nearby Atletico Madrid’s Vicente Calderon stadium would mean getting their first ever piece of silverware and redemption after losing 1-0 in last year’s final to Sevilla.
A victory for the side from Madrid’s southern suburbs would also ensure their return to the UEFA Cup just a week after their cruel exit in this year’s competition to German giants Bayern Munich.
Firstly, Bayern equalised with just a minute to go to make the score 1-1 and force the game into extra-time.
Getafe then scored twice, despite only having 10 men, only for Luca Toni to get two goals in the last five minutes to clinch the tie for the Germans on the away goals rule.
“I think football owes us something this year,” joked Getafe striker Manu Del Moral on Monday.
“Last week, we had the feeling that football was so unfair but we hope to give our fans the victory that eluded us against Bayern. There’s a rage inside of us,” added Del Moral.
“If Valencia want to lift the Cup then they are going to have to have a great game,” warned Getafe coach Michel Laudrup on Monday, who has confirmed that his goalkeeper on Wednesday will be usual second-choice Oscar Ustari.
The Danish coach was at pains to point out that his normal number one Pato Abbondanzieri was not being punished for his mistakes against Bayern but that Ustari had worn the gloves through out Getafe’s Cup campaign and he was going to keep faith with him.
Laudrup’s opposite number and former Barcelona team mate Ronald Koeman – the pair were part of Barca’s famous Dream Team which won the 1992 European Cup – needs to win on Wednesday to have a chance of hanging onto his job.
After taking over in November, Koeman has presided over a disastrous season in La Liga which has seen them slip from being in Champions League contention down to 15th place after winning only one of their last nine games.
“At least if we win the Cup we can put behind us our dreadful season in the league,” reflected Valencia’s Spanish international striker David Villa on Monday.
A good showing from Villa — who has been connected with big money moves to English Premiership clubs — in the Cup final might also help convince Spain coach Luis Aragones to start with him in the forthcoming Euro 2008 finals.
“Victory would also boost our self-confidence, stop us thinking we are as bad as people say we are. We have to forget everything that has happened before and go out on the pitch thinking we are the equals of Getafe,” added Villa.
One good note for Koeman is that Dutch midfielder Hedwiges Maduro has recovered from his left thigh strain suffered two weeks ago and has been passed fit to face Getafe.
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