0-1 for the Bilbao team against an Atlético with more momentum than ideas
MADRID, 7 Feb. (EUROPA PRESS) -
Athletic Club won this Wednesday 0-1 against Atlético de Madrid in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals, thanks to a penalty converted by Álex Berenguer in the first half and which also broke the Madrid team's unbeaten streak in its stadium, which dated back to January 8, 2023 in a league match against FC Barcelona.
At the Cívitas Metropolitano, decked out for another great cup event, the locals first warned with a header from Axel Witsel at 42 seconds, on a rebound from goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala. But Dani Vivian responded quickly, with a low shot from the edge of the area that went wide, after Memphis Depay arrived late in the coverage.
Memphis himself then sent a right-footed shot over the rival goal, after a good collective play in getting the ball out. The team coached by Diego Pablo Simeone took a lot of risks, moving at the pace of Rodrigo De Paul, although almost without connecting up front with Antoine Griezmann.
After a quarter of an hour of play, leaning to the right wing, Griezmann also sent a cross-shot high with his right foot. The local team lacked energy, and in the 22nd minute they failed twice where they least expected it. Iñaki Williams stole a ball from Reinildo Mandava inside the area and, although the 'lion' did not control it, the play was still very much alive.
The Bilbao team reinforced that attack and Gorka Guruzeta filtered a good pass to Beñat Prados, who immediately cut it over Reinildo; The Mozambican defender 'ate' that dribble, clearly knocked down his opponent and the referee awarded a penalty. With nerve, Berenguer deceived Jan Oblak in his execution and made it 0-1 for the visitors.
The colchoneros scored the goal and Guruzeta in the 27th minute was not far from scoring with a cross shot from the left side, which after tripping over an opponent almost surprised Oblak. Athletic dominated the game from that moment on, without needing to monopolize possession of the ball, and threatened several more times from the extremes.
The 'lions' did not miss Nico Williams, absent due to injury, as their rivals lacked brilliance. The 'Cholo' team turned their attempts to the left, with Memphis combining with Samu Lino, without Nahuel Molina appearing on the opposite side. The victim was still Griezmann, who sent a low shot wide shortly before half-time.
Of course, the last scare of the first half was once again for the Bilbao team, thanks to a right-footed shot by Berenguer on a counterattack that Oblak repelled well placed in his goal. Atlético needed a breath of fresh air and seemed to find it upon returning from the locker room, removing Reinildo to bring on Mario Hermoso.
The stands supported the start of the second act, especially each run by De Paul, who took advantage of a mistake by Iñigo Ruiz de Galarreta in the 52nd minute. The Colchonero '5' saw a gap on the left wing for Lino's sprint, who culminated his attack with a left-footed shot near the post.
The duel had become lively and both coaches noticed it, so Simeone moved pieces. He then introduced Marcos Llorente and Álvaro Morata, to which Valverde responded by putting Unai Gómez on the field along with Asier Villalibre. And precisely these created danger in the 62nd minute, with the former Alavés player about to sneak in a rebound from the goalkeeper.
The usual Llorente impetus was not having the desired effect by Simeone on the right side, while Lino continued as a weapon on the other wing. In the 70th minute, the ex-Valencian player had a very clear opportunity, but his right cross again went narrowly wide.
Everything was quite tangled and Atlético pressed without reward, despite the will shown by De Paul. He then entrusted the 'Cholo' to fellow Argentine Ángel Correa, but the option of Athletic extending their income in a counterattack by Iñaki Williams was hovering in the air.
Stefan Savic made a couple of mistakes in the local defense and that revived the hope of the 'lions', who sighed in the 82nd minute when Morata stumbled while finishing off a Lino cross from point-blank range. The duel entered a phase of runner-up, where a mistake by Witsel in another ball exit was close to costing Atlético dearly.
Correa then almost equalized with a low shot inside the area after Llorente rushed to the bottom and passed back. Almost on the goal line, Iñigo Lekue avoided what would have been 1-1 and embittered an Atlético team that was somewhat overrevolutionary.
To liven things up, Roro Riquelme jumped onto the field in the final stages. As if that were not enough, as soon as injury time began there was a penalty from the newly introduced Yeray Álvarez on Morata. Many Metropolitano fans were already savoring the goal, but the local '19' was offside before Griezmann's cross.
Except for a header from Morata himself in the very last play, from a cross by De Paul, the Colchonero team ran out of fuel. With the visitor's victory at the Metropolitano, this semi-final first leg was completed, something that had not happened since matchday 16 of LaLiga 2022/23 against Barça (0-1).
--RESULT: ATLÉTICO DE MADRID, 0 - ATHLETIC CLUB, 1 (0-1, at half-time).
ATLÉTICO DE MADRID: Oblak; Molina (Llorente, min.58), Savic, Witsel, Reinildo (Hermoso, min.46), Lino (Riquelme, min.84); Barrios (Correa, min.73), Koke, De Paul; Griezmann and Memphis (Morata, min.58).
ATHLETIC CLUB: Agirrezabala; Lekue, Vivian, Paredes, Yuri; Galarreta, Prados (Herrera, min.61); Sancet (Unai Gómez, min.53), Berenguer (Vesga, min.85), Iñaki Williams (Yeray, min.85); y Cruzeta (Villalibre, min.53).
0-1, min.25: Berenguer (p).
--REFEREE: Hernández Hernández (C.Las Palmas). He yellow carded Reinildo (min.23) and De Paul (min.83) at Atlético de Madrid, and Prados (min.37), Vivian (min.45 2), Unai Gómez (min.71) and Galarreta (min.90 6) at Athletic Club.
--STADIUM: Cívitas Metropolitano, 65,029 spectators.