Andriy Lunin should come in for Thibaut Courtois, while forgotten man Dani Ceballos should feature when Real Madrid face CD Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey.
Real Madrid will lock horns with Spanish third-division side CD Alcoyano in the third round of the 2021/22 Copa del Rey on Wednesday night at Estadio El Collao.
Following the disappointing defeat to Getafe in La Liga over the weekend, the Merengues will be raring to get back to winning ways. However, they will have to do so without several of their first-team regulars for the trip to Alcoy. Indeed, Carlo Ancelotti will be without Dani Carvajal, Karim Benzema, Ferland Mendy, Gareth Bale and Luka Modric, all of whom are nursing minor niggles.
Apart from that, Vinicius Junior and Luka Jovic also miss out due to Covid-19 protocols, while the manager has given goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois a breather. With the Belgian international not part of the squad, Andriy Lunin is set to start between the sticks for Real Madrid on Wednesday night.
Confirming the same in his pre-match presser, Ancelotti said: “We’ve got players who’ve been struggling after the Getafe game, such as Benzema, Mendy and Modrić. I want to give Lunin minutes and that’s why Courtois won’t be there either.”
While Ancelotti insisted that he will refrain from rotating heavily, it is expected that the Real Madrid manager hand opportunities to some of the fringe players in the squad against Alcoyano. It should pave the way for Nacho Fernandez and Jesus Vallejo to start at the heart of the defence while Lucas Vazquez and club captain Marcelo slot in as the full-backs.
Moving into midfield, both Casemiro and Toni Kroos are part of the travelling squad. However, they are expected to be held back as well, meaning that a completely new-look midfield trio will take the pitch on Wednesday night. Eduardo Camavinga and Federico Valverde are in line to feature from kickoff, while Dani Ceballos could also get a surprise start against Alcoyano.
Speaking about the former Real Betis midfielder, Ancelotti said: “He’s available and could get the chance. I like him as a player and his character on the pitch. He’s going to be important for us in the second half of the season because he has the quality of a Real Madrid player.”
Up top, there is no looking past Mariano Diaz as both Benzema and Jovic are ruled out. Even though Rodrygo Goes and Marco Asensio are available for selection, Ancelotti will likely hand teenage winger Peter Gonzalez a start on the right flank while Eden Hazard ought to get the nod on the left.
Real Madrid Predicted XI: Lunin, Vazquez, Vallejo, Nacho, Marcelo, Valverde, Camavinga, Ceballos, Peter, Mariano, Hazard.