Valencia firmly put one foot in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey with a commanding performance against local rivals Levante at the Mestalla last week.
The cash-strapped minnows sulked back across town on the wrong end of a 4-1 hiding, meaning Los Che only need to avoid a complete disaster tonight to set up a meeting with Barcelona.
Levante will have to win by a margin of three clear goals to progress, or more if Valencia score themselves, but even though that’s a tall order, a win on the night isn’t necessarily as unlikely.
For starters, Valenica are wretched on the road. It’s six without a win away from their own patch and with this tie sewn up, attention is likely to be on a weekend trip to Racing Santander in La Liga.
Unai Emery’s men did record a win at the Ciutat de Valencia in November but that was the only time Levante have lost their in last 11 games at home in a run which has included eight wins and just four goals conceded.
They may have slipped off the pace in La Liga and are staring down the barrel in the cup but there are few tougher places to go in Spain than Levante’s intimate abode.
Regardless, bwin’s 3Way football betting market still has Valencia at 5/4 favourites, with Levante at 2/1 and the draw at 12/5, but the outcome of this game may hinge on how both sides approach it.
With weekend fixtures hot on the heels of tonight’s meeting, will either gaffer choose to rest limbs with progression already semi-sorted?
Valencia are more likely to than Levante, who can’t bow out with a whimper to their neighbours. When this is combined with their decent home record, I think Levante could record a face-saving win, with Valencia still progressing overall.
Levante are a very well priced 29/10 to win a match with under 3.5 goals – a result which would get the job done for both sides.
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