Date: Thursday, November 28 Venue: Liberty Stadium Kick-Off: 20:05
Swansea can join tonight’s opponents Valencia in the last-32 of the Europa League if they can repeat their heroics from matchday one of the competition.
Swansea could welcome winger Pablo Hernandez back into the side against former club Valencia on Thursday night.
The 28-year-old has not played more than half an hour of football since the beginning of September due to a thigh injury, but is back in contention.
Fellow winger Wayne Routledge is a doubt with a calf problem, while striker Michu (ankle) and defender Garry Monk (knee) are definitely out.
Valencia manager Miroslav Đukić has no injury concerns and has virtually a fully-fit squad to pick from.
Defender Adil Rami – sent off in the reverse fixture – is currently training with AC Milan ahead of his January move to the San Siro.
Swansea won the reverse of this fixture 3-0 in Spain, to become only the second Welsh club to beat a Spanish side in European competition.
The other came on 10 March 1971 when Brian Clark’s headed goal gave Cardiff City a 1-0 win over Real Madrid at Ninian Park in the first leg of a European Cup Winners Cup quarter-final tie.
Swansea are unbeaten in this year’s Europa League but after two wins, have drawn twice with Russian side Kuban Krasnodar.
Valencia can qualify as winners of Group A if they are victorious at the Liberty Stadium.
Vorm, Rangel, Chico, Williams, Davies, de Guzman, Canas, Dyer, Pozuelo, Hernandez, Bony
Alves, Bernat, Ruiz, Costa, Pereira, Fuego, Parejo, Cartabia, Jonas, Feghoili, Postiga
Back in September, Swansea made history when they stunned Valencia 3-0 in their own backyard to return to Wales with all three points.
You may well point at the anomaly that was Adil Rami’s red card before even the 10 minute mark as being an extrapolating factor in that result, but you cannot detract from the Swans’ performance that day.
By beating Valencia at the Mestalla, Swansea became only the second Welsh club in history to have emerged victorious over Spanish opposition in Europe after rivals Cardiff stunned Real Madrid in the early seventies, but much of the gloss has worn off now.
Two disappointing draws against Kuban Krasnodar, in which the Russian side grabbed late equalizers, mean Swansea may not even top the group in spite of that memorable victory over tonight’s opposition on matchday one.
The Swans are also without a number of key personnel ahead of their second encounter with the Spaniards, after suffering from a devastating run of injuries that has robbed them of the inspirational Michu.
There’s little questioning that a repeat of the win enjoyed over Valencia two months ago is a completely different proposition now, and one that may be more difficult to achieve.
Manager Michael Laudrup admitted:
“My players all realise that on Thursday it will be much more difficult to beat Valencia than it was in the first game.
“Even if it is a draw, we will still try to win this game because we want to be top of the group, so it doesn’t change anything.”
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This article was first posted on November 28, 2013