Athletic Club – Real Madrid: Late Winner Knocks Out Lackluster Real Madrid (1-0)
Only two weeks after the sides met in the Spanish Supercopa final in Saudi Arabia, Athletic Club and Real Madrid clashed once again in a domestic cup competition. Athletic Club would emerge victorious this time, avenging their defeat in the Supercopa, and moving on to the semifinals of the Copa del Rey.
Tactical analysis and match report by Charlie Tuley.
Marcelino’s Athletic Club came into the Copa del Rey semifinals on a hot streak, with their only loss in the month of January being against Real Madrid in the Spanish Supercopa. They had achieved victories over both Atlético Madrid and Barcelona (in the Supercopa and Copa del Rey respectively) and had taken seven points from the nine possible in their LaLiga outings. Whilst Athletic Club have looked solid throughout the season, they currently sit ninth in the LaLiga table, which can be attributed to the club’s issues with scoring goals. Athletic Club also had a boost for the match against Real Madrid, with none of their squad playing in the international break in the week prior to the match.
Marcelino had nearly a fully fit squad for the semifinal match, with only Unai Vencedor missing the tie due to an injury. Marcelino fielded nine of the eleven players that started the quarterfinal match against Barcelona, with Iñaki Williams and Yeray Álvarez returning to the starting lineup. In goal for Athletic Club was Julen Agirrezabala, with Oscar de Marcos, Yeray Álvarez, Iñigo Martínez, and Yuri Berchiche ahead of him. The midfield four was made up of Nico Williams, Dani García, Mikel Vesga, and Iker Muniain. The striker partnership of Marcelino’s favored 4-4-2 formation was Raúl García and I . . .