Garay out as Valencia take Copa del Rey defence to Granada

Garay out as Valencia take Copa del Rey defence to Granada

Agency News

Madrid, Feb 3 : Reigning Copa del Rey title holders Valencia will look to book their place in the semifinal of the competition when they travel to play Granada on Tuesday night in the first of this week's quarterfinals.

Valencia go into the game on the back of a 1-0 win at home to Celta Vigo, while Granada fought back from a goal down to beat Espanyol 2-1 on Saturday lunchtime. Valencia's win came at a heavy price with central defender Ezequiel Garay damaging his cruciate knee ligament and the Argentinean looks almost certain to miss the rest of the season. Although the club is exploring ways to sign another central defender to cover his loss, nobody is going to arrive in the next 24 hours and that means coach Albert Celades will probably partner Gabriel Paulista with Mouctar Diakhaby in central defense on Tuesday night.

Celades rested key players in previous cup ties against third-tier sides Logrones and Cultural Leonesa, but with the change of silverware growing ever closer, he is likely to make fewer concessions in Granada, with Maxi Gomez leading the line, supported by either Kevin Gameiro or Rodrigo Moreno. Meanwhile Dani Parejo will lead in midfield with Ferran Torres and Carlos Soler, Saturday's goalscorer, also both in the side.

Granada's win at the weekend means they are virtually safe from any threat of relegation and will be able to go all out for a place in the last four, veteran former Valencia striker Roberto Soldado should lead their attack, although coach Diego Martinez could be tempted to hand minutes to striker Gil Dias, who arrived from Monaco at the end of the transfer window.

Wednesday sees second division giant killers entertain Villarreal, while the biggest games of the round are on Thursday when Athletic Club Bilbao entertain FC Barcelona and Real Madrid face Real Sociedad. (Xinhua)