((WATCH>>STREAMS!)) Barcelona vs Unionistas de Salamanca Live Free Online Broadcast 18 January 2024
Barcelona vs. Unionistas de Salamanca FREE LIVE STREAM (1/18/2024): Watch Spanish Copa del Rey online | Time, USA TV, channel. Barcelona will take on Unionistas de Salamanca in the Copa del Rey Round-of-16 clash at the Reina Sofia Stadium on Thursday. La Liga giants beat Barbastro 3-2 in the previous round and will be looking to go all the way and lift the trophy.
Unionistas de Salamanca, a fan-owned club, is currently in the third-tier Primera Federación, where Barça reserves also compete. In 2020, they reached the last 32 of the cup, exiting against Real Madrid. This marks their first appearance in the last sixteen. Currently, Unionistas is thirteenth in their division, three points below seventh-placed Barça Atlètic, with a six-point buffer from the relegation zone.
Barcelona will be looking to bounce back from their defeat against arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Super Cup. They will only have to be wary of complacency creeping in as they're otherwise the firm favourites to win this encounter.
Here’s what you need to know:
What: Spanish Copa del Rey
Who: Barcelona vs. Unionistas de Salamanca
When: Thursday, January 18, 2024
Time: 1:30 PM ET
Where: Reina Sofia Stadium
Unionistas' right-back, Sergio Camus, was subbed off at halftime during the last 32 victory over Villarreal, apparently a tactical move by Ponz due to an early booking.
Midfielder Hector Nespral's midfield companion in the upcoming match is expected to be 20-year-old Javi Villar, currently on loan from Real Madrid's Castilla unit.
For Barcelona, two players will be sidelined on Thursday: Araujo, serving a one-game ban for his red card against Real Madrid, and Lamine Yamal, completing a two-game cup suspension stemming from a previous incident.
Furthermore, Gavi (ACL), Marcos Alonso (back), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (back), Raphinha (hamstring), and Inigo Martinez (hamstring) remain sidelined due to injuries. Joao Cancelo (knee) is also highly unlikely to be included in the squad.
Barcelona have the perfect opportunity to bounce back from their Supercopa de Espana final defeat to Real Madrid when they face Unionistas de Salamanca in the Copa del Rey.
The La Liga champions fell to a humbling 4-1 defeat to their rivals from the Spanish capital in Saudi Arabia last Sunday, with pressure continuing to mount on manager Xavi. Having made a pretty poor defence of their league title so far, perhaps the Catalan club can enjoy greater success in Spain's main cup competition.
Third-division Unionistas should present a straightforward enough tie in the last 16, though the Spanish minnows did knock Villarreal out of the competition by beating the La Liga side on penalties in a dramatic encounter.
Unionistas boss Dani Ponz is unlikely to make too many alterations from the side that managed to defeat 2020/21 Europa League winners Villarreal, although dealing with Barca will be a much sterner test.
Javi Villar will want to impress in midfield given he is currently at Unionistas on loan from Real Madrid Castilla, while Alfred Planas may be given a start after he scored the late equaliser against Villarreal in the previous round.
While Xavi is likely to rotate some of his senior stars for the trip to Salamanca, he also has a long list of missing players to deal with. Two of those who will be absent are young Lamine Yamal and Ronald Araujo, with both serving suspensions.
Across the backline, Barca will be without Marcos Alonso, Inigo Martinez and Joao Cancelo, the latter the only player with a slim chance of featuring. Goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen is still sidelined with a back injury, so Inaki Pena will cover for the German.
Further up the pitch, Gavi is obviously still missing, the Spaniard out for the rest of the season as a bare minimum. Raphinha is also absent for Xavi with a hamstring problem.
Regardless of Barca's underwhelming recent displays, Xavi's men should breeze to victory against Unionistas. The third-division outfit are only 13th in the Primera Federacion, with their win against Villarreal on penalties an outstanding underdog tale.
Even Barca's second team should have no problems dispatching Unionistas, with Xavi unlikely to rest too many players as this cup clash could provide a much-needed confidence boost for his side.
It has not been a great year for Barcelona. The team recently lost the Spanish Supercup against Real Madrid by a 4-1 score, and it seems like the Copa del Rey is their only opportunity of lifting a trophy thisd year.
As for Unionistas de Salamanca, they are clearly not the favorites to win this game. The players celebrated when they realized they would be playing against Barcelona—a unique chance to face one of the best teams in the world.