Athletic Bilbao had a tough assignment on their 2018/19 Copa del Rey Round of 16 tie against Sevilla. Following a 1-3 home loss in the first leg of the tie, the Basque side had their backs against the wall in this visit to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. They ended winning 1-0 thanks to a second-half strike from Gorka Guruzeta, but it wasn’t enough. The tie ended with a 3-2 aggregate win for Sevilla, so Pablo Machin’s men have reached the competition’s quarterfinals.
The first half lacked emotion and intensity
Right from the beginning of the match it seemed evident that Athletic had to turn things around. However, they lacked creativity in the final meters and couldn’t muster many scoring chances. In fact, Sevilla were close to open the score roughly five minutes into the contest when Wissam Ben Yedder wasted a huge opportunity. The French striker shot from close range following a cross, but his effort went sailing off the left post when the keeper was beaten.
Bilbao only managed to respond in the 39th minute through Guruzeta, who was one of the club’s top performers here. He found himself at the end of a perfect cross, but his header went slightly off the left post. There weren’t many emotions during the rest of the first half, as it ended with a paltry 0-0 scoreline.
Athletic wins it despite Sevilla’s dominance
Machin sent his boys with a completely different attitude in the second half, and it was immediately noticeable. Former Barcelona winger Munir came close to score only seconds after the break with an impressive volley. And overall, Sevilla had the best chances during most of the second half.
Quincy Promes had another chance to score in the 64th minute, but his effort got blocked at the very last minute. Knowing things were not likely to get any better, Athletic sent Dani Garcia (65’) and Iker Muniain (73’) to the pitch looking to light up a spark. And while neither got directly involved in what would happen next, they certainly provided the Basque side with the spark they were looking for.
It got translated into the score, as Guruzeta once again created havoc through the air, but this time he found the back of the net in the 77th minute. This meant Athletic would need two more goals to reach the competition’s quarterfinals. However, it was too late. They couldn’t complete the comeback and the win should be a bittersweet one since it didn’t allow them to move on to the next stage of the tournament.
Athletic will now focus entirely on La Liga following this Copa del Rey departure. Meanwhile, Sevilla will play against Valencia in the quarterfinals.
Sevilla: Soriano (6); Mercado (6), Carrico (5), Gnagnon (7); Vidal (7), Roque Mesa (6) (Banega (-), 74’), Amadou (6), Vazquez (4) (Sarabia (4), 61’), Promes (7); Munir (6), Ben Yedder (5) (Salvatierra (-), 71’)
Subs not used: Vaclik (GK), Sergi Gomez, Jesus Navas, Andre Silva
Athletic Club: Unai Simon (7); De Marcos (6), Unai Nunez (7), Peru (6), Balenziaga (6); San Jose (5), Iturraspe (5) (Muniain (6), 73’); Susaeta (6) (Inigo Cordoba (-), 81’), Unai Lopez (5) (Dani Garcia (5), 65’), Ibai Gomez (7); Guruzeta (7)
Subs not used: Herrerin (GK), Inigo Martinez, Ander Capa, Williams
Goals: Guruzeta (0-1, 77’)
Referee: Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez
Yellow cards: Carrico (SEV), Muniain (ATH)
Red cards: None
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