A goal-fest at San Mames ended in victory for the red and whites as they swept aside the erratic third tier outfit to book their spot in the showpiece final
Athletic Bilbao are into the final of the Copa Del Rey after a comfortable 6–2 win over Mirandes at San Mames, brushing aside the minnows 8–3 on aggregate.
Three goals within the first 22 minutes from the Liga side effectively killed the contest before it had even started. Aitor Blanco pulled a goal back for the team in yellow, and although he scored again near the end it proved little more than a consolation, as Fernando Llorente netted twice to wrap up victory.
The Little Reds, 2-1 down on aggregate, needed a good start to have any chance of reaching an unprecedented position of the final, but their gameplan was undone as early as the 11th minute, as Bilbao’s Iker Muniain was left in acres of space in the box, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner of the goal.
Little did the away fans know that only three minutes later, it was about to get much worse for their side. Los Leones attacked down the right side of the pitch, and Markel Susaeta was found unmarked in the penalty area, having ample space to turn and shoot in into the corner of the net.
Neat interplay by the home side on 22 minutes culminated in a terrific cross from the right by Susaeta that landed perfectly onto the head of the incoming Jon Aurtenetxe, who guided the ball into the goal.
The team in red and white were dominant; the away side in contrast were struggling to even test their opponent's defence. Chances were few and far between; Pablo Infante, top scorer in the competition, had a glimpse of goal, but his free kick hit the defensive wall.
By half time Mirandes were under the cosh. As a result, they went out all guns blazing in the second half. Infante had a good chance but could only hit the ball straight at Gorka Iraizoz. But just before the hour the visitors had a goal back, when the defender Blanco poked a rebound into the roof of the net after the ball had struck the post.
Llorente, however, wrapped up the win for the home side courtesy of two goals within 4 minutes. The first was an exquisite chip from the in-form striker, after being put through one on one with Nauzet. Then he put the game beyond doubt, diving in to convert a cross with the outside of his boot.
There was still time for another scrappy Blanco goal, as he tapped in a rebound of Muneta’s free kick, and an unlucky own goal by Cesar Caneda, who diverted a cross past his keeper to make the final score 6-2.
The result means that Athletic Bilbao will face either Barcelona or Valencia in the final of the Copa Del Rey, and coach Marcelo Bielsa will be relishing a chance to win their first Copa Del Rey for 30 years.