Changes afoot as Real Madrid prepare for Copa del Rey

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Real Madrid's Luka Modric (L) vies with Celta Vigo's Renato Tapia during a Spanish league football match between Real Madrid and Celta Vigo in Madrid, Spain, on Jan. 2, 2021. (Photo by Edward F. Peters/Xinhua)

Real Madrid will make sweeping changes when they make their debut in the Copa del Rey away to third-tier Alcoyano on Wednesday night.

Zinedine Zidane is expected to give a chance to players such as Isco, Marcelo, Mariano Diaz, Fede Valverde, Vinicius Jr and Eder Militao in the third round tie as his side looks to bounce back from the disappointment of being knocked out of the semifinals of the Copa del Rey by Athletic Club last Thursday.

Athletic won the title in heroic style by beating Barca on Sunday night, but that has not eased the frustration of a Real Madrid, where doubts are creeping back following draws away to Elche Osasuna and the defeat to Athletic.

Andriy Lunin also looks set to finally make his first-team debut for Real Madrid over 1,000 days since signing for the club.

Wednesday sees further cup action as Real Sociedad returns to Cordoba, where they were unlucky to lose to Barca in the Supercup semifinal a week ago, to face the home side, who like Alcoyano plays in the Segunda B.

Cordoba knocked Getafe out of the last round of the Copa del Rey and with five wins and a draw since the arrival of Pablo Alfaro as the first-team coach, they will be no pushover for last season's finalists, who have just one win in their last 13 matches.

Wednesday also sees La Liga games with fourth-place Villarreal at home to Granada, while Betis aims to take advantage of Iago Aspas' absence at Celta and Pacheta makes his debut as the new coach of the bottom of the table Huesca with a tricky away game against Getafe. 

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