Athletic Club Bilbao knock Real Madrid out of Copa del Rey
Bilbao : Alex Berenguer’s 89th-minute winner put Athletic Club Bilbao into the semifinals of the Copa del Rey for the fourth consecutive season with a 1-0 win at home to Real Madrid to add to their 3-2 win over Barcelona in the previous round.The game looked to be heading for extra time when the winger collected the ball on the edge of the Madrid area to slot the ball past Thibaut Courtois in the Madrid goal.It was what Athletic deserved after dominating the league leaders, who had beaten them three times previously this season, Xinhua reports. The first half saw Athletic look to keep the pressure on Real Madrid high up the field and they created several chances with Dani Garcia seeing one shot saved by Thibaut Courtois and another deflected out for one of several corners.Nico Williams was causing problems down the Real Madrid left flank and he saw a shot blocked, before Iker Muniain fired into the side netting, before Rodrygo hit Real Madrid’s only shot of the half straight at Athletic keeper Julen Aguirezabala.
Eder Militao then produced a great block when Nico looked as if he was in on goal before Athletic suffered a setback on the stroke of halftime when the younger of the Williams brothers was forced off with a hamstring injury.Berenguer replaced Williams for a tense second half with few chances as both sides defended magnificently, but the substitute would be decisive to make it fourth-time lucky for the Basques, who lost the last two cup finals.In Thursday’s second semifinal Betis enjoyed a crushing 4-0 win away to Real Sociedad with two goals from former Real Sociedad striker, Juanmi after 12 and 57 minutes, before a penalty from Willian Jose, another former player for the home side, and an 87th-minute goal from Aitor Ruibal wrapped up a win that was much easier than expected.Valencia and Rayo Vallecano booked their semifinal spots after beating Mallorca and Cadiz on Wednesday night.
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