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Jan 17, 2021 at 11am UK
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Preview: Malaga vs. Granada - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Malaga vs. Granada - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Copa del Rey clash between Malaga and Granada, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Granada will be looking to book their spot in the last-16 stage of the Copa del Rey when they take on Segunda Division side Malaga at Estadio La Rosaleda on Sunday morning.

The visitors have overcome San Juan and Cultural Leonesa to advance to this stage of the competition, while Malaga have beaten Coruxo and Real Oviedo in the opening two rounds.

Match preview

Malaga were relegated from La Liga at the end of the 2017-18 campaign and are therefore now in their third straight season in the second tier of Spanish football, finishing third and 14th in the Segunda Division since dropping back to this level for the first time since 2008.

Los Albicelestes will bring a five-game unbeaten run into this weekend's contest, but they have largely struggled for consistency during the 2020-21 campaign, picking up just 28 points from 21 matches to sit down in 11th position in the Segunda Division, some 17 points off leaders Espanyol.

Malaga actually reached the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey, and the Champions League, in 2012-13, but they have not made an impression in this particular competition for some time.

Sergio Pellicer's side progressed to the second round courtesy of a comfortable 4-0 victory away to Coruxo on December 16 but needed extra time to overcome Real Oviedo in the last round, with Pablo Chavarria coming off the bench to score in the 118th minute of the contest.

Granada, meanwhile, will enter this weekend's clash off the back of a 2-0 win over Osasuna in La Liga, which has left them in seventh position in the table, five points off the Champions League positions.

Diego Martinez's side actually reached the semi-finals of last season's Copa del Rey before losing to Athletic Bilbao, while they made the final of the 1958-59 competition before losing to Barcelona.

El Grana's progression to the last-32 stage of this season's tournament has seen them record a 2-0 victory away to San Juan before beating Cultural Leonesa 2-1 in the last round at the start of January.

Granada have also booked their spot in the knockout round of the Europa League, where they will face Napoli, meaning that it could be a very busy second half of the season for the club.

The La Liga side have won three of their last four matches with Malaga, but the visitors are expected to make wholesale changes to their usual XI, which could create more of a level playing field on Sunday.

Malaga Copa del Rey form: LDLLWW
Malaga form (all competitions): LWDDWD

Granada Copa del Rey form: WWLWWW
Granada form (all competitions): LWLWLW

Team News

Malaga's team is expected to have a similar look to the one that started against Real Oviedo in the last round, with Orlando Sa again likely to lead the line in a 4-2-3-1 formation.

David Larrubia and Cristian Rodriguez are also set to be handed starting roles, but Dani Barrio will feature between the sticks as Juan Soriano is carrying an injury.

As for Granada, Neyder Lozano and Maxime Gonalons are both injured, but Victor Diaz is in contention, having been on the bench for the team's last Copa del Rey game on January 6.

Head coach Martinez will make wholesale changes from the side that started against Osasuna last time out, with Yan Eteki, Ramon Azeez, Fede Vico and Alberto Soro all expected to come into the side.

Luis Suarez and Darwin Machis will be among those to drop out, with Jorge Molina expected to earn a starting role in the final third of the field, while there should be a spot between the sticks for Aaron Escandell.

Malaga possible starting lineup:
Barrio; Benitez, Rivas, Mejias, Gonzalez; Benkhemassa, Quintara; Larrubia, Rodriguez, Rahmani; Sa

Granada possible starting lineup:
Escandell; Sanchez, Perez, Duarte, Neva; Soro, Azeez, Eteki, Kenedy; Molina, Vico

We say: Malaga 1-2 Granada

Both managers will make changes to their usual starting teams, and we are expecting a tight game on Sunday morning. Granada's squad is stronger and deeper, though, and we fancy the La Liga club to emerge victorious, booking their spot in the last-16 stage of the competition in the process.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 1.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 1.5:data

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