MANZANO´S MEN FACE VALENCIA ON SUNDAY: FULL PREVIEW TOMORROW

Matthew O'Connor
IF Real Mallorca want to win this season's Copa del Rey they are going to have to do it the hard way. Their reward for sweeping past European Champions Real Madrid 5-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals is a semi-final date with holders Deportivo de La Coruña. Yesterday's draw pitted Recreativo Huelva against Osasuna in the other semi-final. Deportivo, who won the Cup last season after upsetting Real Madrid's centenary celebrations in the final at the Bernabeu, currently sit two positions above seventh place Mallorca in the league. A clash between the two teams will throw up some interesting returns. Former Mallorca strikers Albert Luque and Diego Tristan are both now plying their trade with Depor, while the Islander's leading scorer this season, Walter Pandiani, is on loan from the Galicians. While Mallorca thumped Real Madrid 4-0 in the quarter-final second leg on Wednesday night, Deportivo scraped their way past second division Murcia on away goals (4-4 on aggregate), after a thrilling 4-3 second-leg defeat on Thursday night. “Facing the reigning champions is a daunting task for us,” Mallorca coach Gregorio Manzano told Radio Marca after hearing the draw. “But despite facing such a difficult obstacle I still believe we have a 50-50 chance of realising our dream of making another cup final.” Mallorca, who have never won the Cup, last reached the final in 1998 when they lost out on penalties to Barcelona. Before any thoughts of the Cup, though, Mallorca must first face Valencia tomorrow in the league at the daunting Mestalla, a stadium in which the Islanders have never won a league match.

Semi-final draw
Deportivo v Real Mallorca
Recreativo Huelva v Osasuna
The ties are to be played over two legs. They are scheduled for the weeks commencing February 3 and March 3.

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