Valencia and Real Madrid
Valencia and Real Madrid

Real Madrid and Valencia face each other in the first semi-final of the new-look Spanish Super Cup on Wednesday night.

The 2019-20 version of the tournament sees two major changes. Instead of being played between the winners of the Copa del Rey (Valencia) and last season’s La Liga champions (FC Barcelona), it has been expanded into a competition with four teams, with Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid, who finished second and third in the league last season, also invited.

Business24

Not only has the format been changed, but so has the location, as all matches will be held at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

The changes have created controversy, with many arguing that the last thing the four sides need is a long trip to the Middle East where most of their fans will not be able to see the games.

Indeed, the four clubs have sold just nine percent of their allocated 12,000 tickets between them.

Valencia are also angry that despite traveling as Copa del Rey holders, they will actually earn less from their participation than the other clubs, although the squad are using what they see as a lack of respect as extra motivation.

“We are going to Saudi Arabia to compete on level terms and to win another title,” commented midfielder Daniel Wass.

Wednesday’s game will be a repeat of last month’s meeting between the two sides in La Liga, when Valencia were only denied a win by a 95th-minute equalizer from Karim Benzema.

The side coached by Albert Celades have been climbing the table steadily over the past few weeks and now sit sixth, although they lost Spanish international striker Rodrigo to a knee injury in Saturday’s 1-0 win at home to Eibar.

Real Madrid won 3-0 away to Getafe thanks to excellent displays from Raphael Varane and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, and should have Sergio Ramos back in the side after the captain was suspended at the weekend.

Los Merengues do have big players out in attack, however, with Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema joining Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio on the injured list.

With the final due to be played on Sunday, both coaches will have to consider whether to risk resting key players ahead of a meeting against Barca or Atletico, but with the advantage of 24 hours more recovery time, both teams should put out something approaching their strongest 11 – if not, it will be an indication they are not taking the tournament as seriously as they might be. Enditem

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