La Copa del Rey returns to Vila-real
La Copa del Rey returns to Vila-real

Villarreal have not played at home in the knockout tournament since the 2018/19 season

Villarreal CF face Real Madrid in the Round of 16 of the Copa del Rey this Thursday at Estadio de la Cerámica, starting at 21.00. The Submarine will once again play at home in a knockout round of the knockout competition four seasons later, with the last one coming in the 2018/19 campaign against RCD Espanyol in the last 16 of the competition.

The first Copa del Rey match in Vila-real was played on 5th November 1969. On that occasion, Villarreal faced La Unión in the first round and, despite the adverse result in the first leg (2-1), the team coached by José Soriano – who were promoted to the second division that same season – managed to advance to the second round after coming from behind to win the tie with a 4-0 home win.

However, La Cerámica has hosted more high-voltage matches in this competition. In the 2014/15 season, the Submarine reached their biggest record to date in the Copa del Rey when they reached the semi-finals, where they faced FC Barcelona. However, the Yellows lost both at the Camp Nou and at home, 3-1 and 1-3 respectively.

Against Real Madrid, Quique Setién’s side have the chance to move into the best eight teams of the competition. The knockout tie, over one leg, will see two teams meet after playing each other 11 days ago in LaLiga, which ended with a win for the Yellows (2-1).

Villarreal, who beat Cartagena in the previous round (1-5), will welcome Madrid in good spirits and footballing form, as they have not lost an official match since 6th November against Mallorca in LaLiga. For their part, Los Blancos, who eliminated Cacereño (0-1) in the third round, are on the back of the Spanish Super Cup, where they beat Valencia in the semi-finals on penalties, before losing 1-3 to FC Barcelona in the final.