Andriy Lunin should make his debut while Vinicius Junior is likely to feature in place of Eden Hazard when Real Madrid face Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey.
Real Madrid will be aiming to progress in the Copa del Rey when they lock horns against third division outfit CD Alcoyano in the Round of 32 at Estadio El Collao on Wednesday night.
Ahead of the game, manager Zinedine Zidane has opted to rest several first-team members, with the likes of Sergio Ramos, Raphael Varane, Luka Modric not making the trip to Alcoy. In addition, both Dani Carvajal and Rodrygo Goes miss out due to injury problems, while Martin Odegaard is also absent from the 20-man squad.
Despite heading into the game without a win in their last two games, Zidane is expected to rotate his squad quite a bit, handing opportunities to some of his non-regulars on Wednesday against Alcoyano. This should see Ukrainian goalkeeper Andriy Lunin make his debut for Real Madrid, replacing Thibaut Courtois between the sticks.
Alvaro Odriozola, who has been linked with an exit of late, should get the nod at right-back while veteran defender Marcelo also gets a rare start at left-back in place of Ferland Mendy. With no Ramos and Varane, Nacho and Eder Militao pick themselves as the centre-back pairing for Los Blancos.
Casemiro has been an ever-present in midfield for Real Madrid and could do with some rest, with Federico Valverde likely to replace him at the base of the three-man unit. With no Modric and Odegaard in the squad, we can expect Isco to get a rare opportunity to make an impression from the get-go against Alcoyano. Toni Kroos, however, should hold on to his place.
Lucas Vazquez, who endured a torrid night against Athletic Bilbao in the Supercopa de Espana semi-final, should start again, albeit moving to his more natural right-wing slot, replacing Marco Asensio. On the opposite side, Eden Hazard will vie for the starting berth with Vinicius Junior.
Speaking of Hazard, Zidane, in his press conference, said, “He’s always motivated. It’s been a long and complicated process. He was a player who hadn’t suffered may injuries and now it’s getting difficult for him. We have to accept this situation and get on with it to come out on top and that’s what he’s going to do. I’m sure he’s not going to change as a player.”
Given Hazard’s fitness problems, risking him against a third division team, unless absolutely necessary would be imprudent. So, we could see Vinicius Junior get the nod out on the left flank while Mariano Diaz is also likely to come in for Karim Benzema to spearhead the Real Madrid attack.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Lunin; Odriozola, Militao, Nacho, Marcelo; Isco, Valverde, Kroos; Vazquez, Diaz, Vinicius Jr.