Matthew O'Connor

REAL MALLORCA and Recreativo Huelva were due to serve up a taste of things to come tonight prior to their Copa del Rey final at the end of the month. However coaches of both teams have opted to rest players for today's dress rehearsal and the result of the match will have little bearing on the outcome of the June 28 final. Gregorio Manzano's decision to leave five regular starters in Mallorca for the trip to Huelva will have surprised many. With two matches of the season remaining the ninth-placed Islanders are still in with a shout for a place in next season's UEFA Cup and victory tonight would have kept the pressure on sixth-placed Athletic Bilbao. Recre, on the other hand, are already relegated and have little interest in today's match other than avoiding injuries. A full strength Mallorca could easily have beaten them. As it is Mallorca will be without Alvaro Novo, Miguel Angel Nadal, Walter Pandiani, Leo Franco and most importantly Ariel Ibagaza. Manzano will opt for a two man central midfield of Harold Lozano and Marcos Martin de la Fuente with Alejandro Campano covering for Alvaro Novo on the right wing. Carlos Dominguez will make a rare start up front instead of Pandiani. Despite seeming uninterested in sixth place, Manzano was still trying to motivate his team yesterday. “We have a mathmatical chance of clinching a UEFA Cup spot and we musn't let that go because it would be a pity if Athletic lost and ourselves also. “We are going to Huelva with the sole intention of winning the three points and then we must wait to see how our rivals have done.” Meanwhile, Recre coach Lucas Alcaraz, who will leave the club after the Copa final, admitted today's match was of little consequence. “The match has no meaning for the final whatsoever,” said Alcaraz. “The only things in common are the facts that it is Recre and Mallorca playing and the date for the final is near. This Sunday we will see little of what will be seen in the final. Mallorca will be without four or five or their usual players and we are also making quite a few changes so it is quite irrelevant.”

César; Merino, Loren, Iker begoña, Espínola; Kaiku, José Mari, Cubillo, Arpón; Mario Bermejo, Quique Romero.

Miki; Cortés, Lussenhoff, Niño, Poli; Campano, Lozano, Marcos, Riera; Eto'o, Carlos.


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