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Canadian Larin aims to emulate Eto'o and fire Mallorca to Copa glory

PALMA, Spain : Canadian forward Cyle Larin has struggled at times since joining Real Mallorca last August but while La Liga goals have proved elusive he has found the Copa del Rey much more to his liking.

Larin, who hails from Brampton, Ontario, failed to score in his first 10 La Liga appearances for the club, all as substitute, but finally opened his account in a 4-0 win over CD Boiro in the first round of the Copa in November.

Little did he know it then but it was the beginning of a magical journey which has seen the club reach the final for the first time since 2003 when Samuel Eto'o scored twice as Mallorca won the trophy for the only time in their 108-year history.

Larin, 28, has registered four goals in six appearance in the Copa del Rey, including a 120th-minute winner against Tenerife in the last 16 and another in the shock 3-2 victory over high-flying Girona in the quarter-finals.

He failed to score in the semi-final as Mallorca edged Real Sociedad on penalties after the two-legged tie ended 1-1, but is expected to start the final against Athletic Bilbao in Seville on Saturday having continued to impress Mexican coach Javier Aguirre.

Larin now hopes to resume his special relationship with the Copa del Rey as Mallorca again try to beat the odds - eight years after they slumped into Spain's third tier.

"It's a special game for us, and the Mallorca fans and everyone is focused on winning this game and doing something incredible," Larin told Reuters at Mallorca's pre-final media day. "This season has been hard and survival (in La Liga) is a push but this gives us hope to build something.

"That's the reason I came, I saw this club growing and I want to be part of that."

Mallorca are in fine form and a 0-0 draw at Valencia

Read more on channelnewsasia.com