There's no doubt that the two-legged format of Spanish football's cup competition, the Copa del Rey, robs it of much of the romance associated with, say, the FA Cup in England, where one-off games regularly produce gloriously improbable results. On the other hand, if you're a fan of the fifth-best team in the country, it's quite reassuring to know that your side has 180 minutes to prove they really are more capable than just a fairly decent Segunda outfit.
And so it's true that Betis really should qualify for the quarter-finals tonight. The "half-time" score is 1-1 after Las Palmas equalised Rubén Castro's opener late in the first game, which under the away goals rule means that Pepe Mel's men only have to keep a clean sheet to go through. This is important because it dictates the shape of the game; at some point the visitors will be obliged to come out into the open in search of a goal, which should really suit Betis's trademark counterattacking style. The Benito Villamarín hasn't yielded quite as many Liga points this season as away stadiums, but starting with a de facto one-goal start is a huge advantage.
For once, the Betis starting line-up is no secret as Pepe Mel has been training with the following 11 playing together all week: Casto; Angel, Paulao, Perquis, Chica; Rubén Pérez, Beñat; Agra, Pozuelo, Vadillo; Jorge Molina. This means that only Chica and Beñat survive from the last league game, with the former switching from right- to left-back and the latter available because he's suspended on Sunday. It's a noticeably young side - at least upfront - but it's packed full of talent and pace and should be enough to cope with a raw but promising Las Palmas team, who last weekend lost for only the first time in 15 games. Available on the bench for Betis will be Rubén Castro, Joel Campbell, Nono and, a new name for me, B-team forward Eder Vilachao.
A win tonight (or a 0-0 draw) would see Betis almost certainly face Atlético Madrid in a mouthwatering quarter-final, with Zaragoza (or Sevilla) waiting in the semis. The other quarter-finalists are Real Madrid, Valencia, Málaga and, probably, Barcelona, so a classy line-up, you'd have to agree, even if boringly Primera-orientated. Let's hope our boys can keep that trend going tonight.
UPDATE: I don't usually put up Live Threads for the Copa del Rey, but you can leave comments below if you are able to find a stream for it. This definitely feels like a game worth winning.