It’s true that in general the Copa del Rey has been an important ingredient in Sevilla’s 21st century success, but even so it hasn’t been a huge priority for most Sevillistas in recent years. Europa League glory and the never-ending struggle to climb the table into Champions spots on the off chance we don’t manage to win the Europa (unlikely! But possible!) have all become a greater priority than the tournament we last won in 2010.
But that may have changed January 15. Sure, Sevilla had just managed a home victory of Bilbao, but that was only good enough for 7th place in the table. Moving up, sure, but still not really anywhere near where we needed to be to truly believe in any chances of a top 4 finish. No–it wasn’t league form that made January 15th important. That date was the day of the Copa quarterfinal draw when, instead of teams above us on the table like Barca or Atleti or Celta or Bilbao, Sevilla managed to draw Mirandés, the only remaining Segunda team in the tournament. Suddenly Sevilla was sitting on a very clear path to the semifinals of a meaningful piece of hardware, and suddenly I personally became a bit more emotionally invested in the team’s success. Suddenly it became easy to imagine a semifinal with any number of teams we’ve either already beat this year (Barcelona, Valencia, Athletic) or really ought to be able to beat easily (Las Palmas…how did we lose to Las Palmas?!?). And the other two teams are tied together!
So, yeah: I’m in. No rotations, no risking anything. We’ve won four games in a row, our goal differential in 2016 in 11–3, and, yeah: we’re in the quarters with an easy draw. Mirandés is in 11th place in La Segunda. Let’s finish this tie this week, at home, and rest during the second leg as we celebrate our weekend walloping of Atleti!