Preview: Busy week in Spanish football with League and Cup action

2021-01-18 11:35:16 GMT2021-01-18 19:35:16(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

MADRID, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The La Liga season reaches its halfway point with the 19th round of matches during the week with games on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday night.

Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, Real Sociedad and Athletic Club Bilbao have already played their games after they were brought forward due to their participation in the Spanish Supercup, which Athletic won in epic fashion on Sunday night, twice coming back from behind before scoring a spectacular winning goal to defeat Barca in extra time in Seville.

That gives Atletico Madrid the chance to open up a seven-point lead at the top of the table when they travel to Eibar on Thursday night. Atletico will have recent arrival Moussa Dembele for a visit to the compact Ipurua Stadium where they face a rival whose Copa del Rey adventure ended with a 3-1 defeat to third-tier Navalcarnero on Sunday.

The round of matches kicks off on Tuesday with Cadiz (another side who was beaten by lower league opposition in the Cup) at home to Levante, before fourth from bottom Valladolid entertains third from bottom Elche.

Elche's Cup ambitions came to an end at the weekend as they lost to Rayo Vallecano and after an alarming slide down the table following a promising start to their top-flight return, coach Jorge Almiron could be in danger of losing his job if they lose to a direct rival to avoid the drop.

Abelardo Fernandez returns to the dugout in Alaves' Mendizorroza Stadium with a tough home game against Sevilla and will bring back first-team regulars Lucas Perez, Joselu and Battaglia in the wake of the 5-0 humiliation away to Almeria which marred his first game back in charge.

Fernando Pacheco makes his debut as coach of the bottom of the table Huesca on Wednesday following Michel's sacking as his new side looks for only their second win of the campaign away to Getafe.

Betis will hope to take advantage of the injury to Celta captain Iago Aspas when the two teams meet in the Benito Villamarin Stadium. Celta has won just one of the last 20 matches they have played without their inspirational captain and leader.

Fourth place Villarreal has what promises to be a tight game at home to seventh place Granada to round off Wednesday's games before Thursday sees Valencia at home to second from bottom Osasuna, whose recent performances hint at an improvement in form.

The four sides who competed in the Supercup will be playing their respective third-round ties in the Copa del Rey, with Athletic Club traveling to face Ibiza, while Real Sociedad is in Cordoba.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane will give a chance to fringe players in his side's visit to third-tier Alcoyano, while Barca has a short trip to the suburbs to take on Cornella, who produced the shock of the second round by beating Atletico Madrid. Enditem