In an intensely disputed game, Athletic Bilbao defeated Granada 1-0, this Wednesday, in front of more than 48 thousand fans at their San Mames stadium, in the Basque Country, for the first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals.
The two teams will face each other again, on March 5, in Granada, as Bilbao can reach their 39th final in the competition even with a simple draw. The Basque side has 24 titles and is only behind Barcelona, who lifted the cup 30 times.
The first half was all from Athletic Bilbao, who adopted the strategy of playing down the wings, mainly on the left flank. There, Bilbao’s Quarterfinal hero against Barcelona, Inaki Williams stood out. But it was Mikel Vesga and Yuri Berchiche who threatened goalkeeper Rui Silva.
The deadlock remained unbroken until the 41st minute. Williams was released down the left and took perfectly crossed it for Iker Muniain, who only had to tap in to score. 1-0 Bilbao.
Granada came differently for the second half. More aggressive, but with no power to penetrate the defensive sector of Bilbao, who became dangerous in counterattacks, once again having their highlight, Inaki Williams, as the main man.
The striker had two good chances. One of them was avoided by a beautiful defense from Rui Silva, who also saved in a spectacular way a strong kick from Capa, in the 58th minute.
In the next minute, Capa’s attempt even went in, but Williams was in an offside position and played a major role in staying in the way of the ball. The referee was advised by the VAR to rule it out, as he did so.
Granada pushed hard for an equalizer by the end of the match, and almost succeeded hadn’t goalkeeper Unai Simon’s great save in the 78th min to avoid it.
In the end, Athletic Bilbao prevailed over Granada, and the result was quite fair, although the match deserved more goals.