Copa Del Rey 2011, Round Of 32 Preview: Getafe Hosts Málaga In Only Interesting Match

This is a perfect summary of how I feel about the first round of the Copa.

Hey! It's the Copa Del Rey, Spain's anual no-one-thinks-about-this-until-March competition!

All year, Spanish soccer builds up to this one moment: a pivotal, brutal competition that pits the best teams in the country against bottom-feeding minnows from second and even third division. Yes, it's the Copa Del Rey. You know, that competition that only matters in the semi-finals (and sometimes only in the final, like last year when Real Madrid upset Barcelona 1-0 in a spectacular match in Valencia). And yes, Real Madrid is back to defend their crown, only a few days after losing to their hated rivals in the first of probably a gajillion Clásicos this year. 

You know what's even better than a gajillion Clásicos? Watching Real Madrid's subs blaze past Segunda B side Ponferradina on Tuesday at 22:00 CET (4:00 PM EST); Barça already played, squeezing out a way-too-complicated victory away to a Catalan side that I've never heard of (Hospitalet). But hey, if you like TONS of goals, well, actually, you might be better served looking elsewhere, as I doubt that Mourinho will want to stretch out any of his players before Saturday's major clash with Sevilla

If you're looking for an actual show--and by "actual show" I mean two semi-evenly matched sides playing each other in a game that will at least seem like football--your best bet will be to turn on either Getafe vs. Málaga (Tuesday at 21:00 CET, 3:00 PM EST) or Mallorca vs. Sporting (same time). And, because they're at the same time, you'll probably have to choose between those two matches. This one is a no-brainer: would you rather watch a game between two teams that produced two of the Liga's best goals last time they played (see videos below) or watch a bad side play against a worse one that's also notoriously defensive? Yeah, go for Getafe vs. Málaga (plus, I love excuses to watch Málaga). 

If you're really in a Copa-watching mood, a fun game to check out might be Cádiz vs. Valencia (20:00 CET, 2:00 PM EST). I know, I know, Cádiz is a Segunda B side; but they were only recently in Primera, plus, I'm going to try to go! I'm giving my local side some love, no doubt, but it really should be a fun game, as Cádiz has a great stadium (next to my house!), great, passionate fans, and Valencia are really fun to watch when their opponent sucks. Just a thought. 

Other Primera-ish level games could be Real Sociedad vs. Granada, Racing Santander vs. Rayo Vallecano, Deportivo La Coruña vs. Levante, and Celta vs. Espanyol, all of them on Tuesday at 21:00 CET (3:00 EST). I'm still picking Getafe vs. Málaga, but, like five years ago I totally would have watched Celta vs. Espanyol. 

As promised, here are the two goals that I was talking about earlier (yes, they're from the same game): 

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