Copa del Rey: Athletic strikes first in an intense duel at the Metropolitano | Copa del Rey 2023

One blinked and returned to Sunday. He squinted his eyes and saw a clash between whites and red and whites. But, they were not the same teams, nor was it the same stadium, nor was it the same result. This Wednesday there were not three points at stake, there was a title. It was, as he says Cholo“the first part of a long match”, of an early final of the former King of Cups and the one who wants to be the King of this Cup. And the King is still the king. [Narracin y Estadsticas, 0-1]

The soldiers of Cholo They sought the crown from minute one. With two arrivals in one breath, both ending with anger. Five minutes later, Athletic arrived at the area. Oblak and the play ended with a central defender’s shot on the balcony of the area. For a long game, the players wanted to bite. You can talk about physical, tiredness and rest all you want, but when there is motivation…

A lot of pace in the first half, but there was a lack of depth. The two teams were trying each other until Reinildo li the monumental. The Mozambican decided to drive along the line of his small area with Iaki smelling the blood. He managed to get the ball out, but the Bilbans were already on top. They recovered in three quarters a ball that reached Prados in the area and, to complete the feat, he himself Reinildo He committed a penalty on the Navarrese midfielder and the red card was played. transform Berenguer the maximum penalty and Cholo, without shelter on a cold night, was taken by demons.

He almost returned the favor. Agirrezabala to Atlético ten minutes later. Ten minutes, by the way, in which absolutely nothing happened. The Basque goalkeeper wanted to avoid a corner after a rebound from his defense, the ball escaped him and went to the feet of Memphis while the 23-year-old prayed from the ground. I listened to him Walls who made a heavenly appearance to prevent the Dutchman from scoring.

Atlético looked for the equalizer before the break on the back of From Paul. The Argentine’s improvement has been notable this season. He is everywhere, he fights for every ball and plays with judgment. He was about to attend Griezmann in a foul taken with mischief on the edge of half-time. The Frenchman’s half-turned shot was stopped by the Bilban defense, which was impeccable for the first 45 minutes.

He Athletic Club He had gone almost half a century without winning Atlético de Madrid in Copa del Rey. Half life. He went to half-time chasing away his demons and playing with authority, but the colchoneros did not want to make history and they showed it after leaving the locker room. The first five minutes were played on the Bilbao field, two of them almost in the area, in which Griezmann claimed a penalty that could have been.

Lino’s push

Lino leaves an Athletic player.

Lino leaves an Athletic player.JUANJO MARTINEFE

One of those responsible for the field leaning towards the goalkeeper Agirrezabala was Samu Lino. There was a moment in the season when Simeone alternated him with Riquelme, both, by the way, performing at a high level. But for some time now, the Brazilian has gone one step further and is becoming undisputed in the team’s plans. Cholo and in the mattress attack. It’s not just the depth that he provides, he also wins duels, something very much liked by Simeone.

However, and despite the percussion of Atlético, it was Athletic that almost finished the job after a mistake of Oblak that softly cleared a shot Unai Gmez. Villalibre He entered like a buffalo for the rebound, but his shot went into the side of the net. A two-goal advantage, which the lions obtained in the league duel, would have seemed almost impossible to overcome in the remaining half hour of play.

The Metropolitan roars and the Atlético strikes, but the Athletic He was waiting for his opportunity on the counter and it almost came if Iaki I would have decided better and, above all, faster. Valverde’s men had the dream plan. That plan, in addition, involved having a Griezmann asleep, unknown. Even so, it takes little to awaken the French. He did not do it.

The final siege of Atlético did not show fatigue. Intensity, pressure and clarity, but, oddly enough, effectiveness was lacking. Fail one Morata very similar to the failures of Sadiq on Tuesday. Alone, half a meter from the goalkeeper, he kneed a good cross from Hermoso. To the clouds. Then a carom in a small area that miraculously fell into the hands of Agirrezabala. In the end, so much push could have been rewarded if it were not due to the knee of Morata. Offside and first round for the Bilbans.

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