That concludes our commentary of the Copa del Rey final between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad! We hope you’ve enjoyed it!
Interestingly enough, these two sides will see each other again in four days when Real Sociedad hosts Athletic Bilbao in LaLiga on April 7.
For just the third time in their long history, Real Sociedad are Copa del Rey winners! It wasn’t a match of the highest quality, but Alguacil won’t care as his side were able to keep a clean sheet en-route to a first cup victory since 1986/87. The penalty was the only real incident of note after Portu was bowled over by Martinez inside the penalty area following a spectacular pass from Merino. Oyarzabal’s confident strike from 12 yards out gave his side the lead after 63 minutes, while Remiro was able to confidently handle the rare foray the other way; the goalkeeper failing to be troubled by a limp attack spearheaded by Williams. The woes continue for Athletic Bilbao, who have now lost in their last five Copa del Rey finals – though they will get a chance to end the streak by winning this years’ finals against Barcelona in nine days. It’s Sociedad’s first piece of silverware in over three decades!
REAL SOCIEDAD ARE 2019/20 COPA DEL REY WINNERS!
90′ + 8′ FULL-TIME: ATHLETIC BILBAO 0-1 REAL SOCIEDAD.
90′ + 7′ Merino is down after beating both Villalibre and Raul Garcia to a ball in the air in order to clear the danger. He’s given a free-kick for his troubles.
90′ + 5′ A desperate cross is hoisted into the penalty area by Capa, but Martinez is only able to nod his effort down into the ground – making for an easy catch for Remiro.
90′ + 3′ Capa is sent on with five minutes left in added time to add some pace down the flank. Berchiche is taken off.
90′ + 3′ Elustondo is in for Gorosabel as an extra centre-back is added for safety.
90′ + 1′ Maybe there’s still a chance for Athletic! The fourth official raises his board and signals for eight minutes of added time! It’s not over yet!
89′ A change is made at striker as Isak is taken off. Fernandez gets a go with two minutes left.
89′ Real Sociedad make two changes to freshen things up as they hope to see out the 1-0 win. The first alteration sees Barrenetxea replace Portu.
87′ Muniain puts a low cross towards the near post, but Le Normand bullies his man out of the way and allows Remiro to stoop down and claim the cross unimpeded.
85′ David Silva is replaced with five minutes remaining. Guevara is the man tasked with providing legs in midfield as time expires.
84′ Athletic are doing everything they can to keep possession inside Sociedad’s half, but time is running out. With less than 10 minutes left in the match they’ve got to find a way to beat what has been up until now a resolute Real defence.
82′ Athletic have scored five of their 14 Copa del Rey goals inside the last 15 minutes – their most productive period of a game.
80′ Muniain takes a corner to the penalty spot, where it’s allowed to drop. Both Martinez and Villalibre look to have a whack at it, but it’s cleared at the last possible second.
78′ Muniain is taken down by a poor Zubimendi tackle, allowing Athletic to regain possession easily inside their own half.
76′ Dani Garcia is the second player to make way, with Vesga on in his place.
76′ It’s now or never for Athletic Bilbao, who make a double switch with 15 minutes remaining. The first of which sees Berenguer replaced by Villalibre.
73′ Real Sociedad have won two Copa del Reys in their history, 78 years apart – in 1909 and again in 1986/87.
71′ It’s heating up on the pitch as Merino is now shown a booking for stepping through Yeray, who had already played the ball.
70′ Oyarzabal is down holding his face after seemingly taking a shot from Lopez’s elbow during an aerial duel. He’s been on less than two minutes and the Athletic substitute has already given away a free-kick.
68′ Vencedor is withdrawn in Athletic Bilbao’s first change, as Lopez is sent on in his place.
67′ Athletic look to be readying substitutes in an attempt to get themselves level. With only 20 minutes remaining in the match, it’s going to take some effort to get level as they’ve shown little in the way of attack thus far.
65′ Athletic give away another free-kick, this time right on the 18-yard box in a central position after a moment of madness but Isak is unable to convert as he sends his effort against the wall.
63′ GOAL! 1-0 SOCIEDAD! After a hop and a skip, Oyarzabal smashes his penalty high into the roof of the net! There was nothing Simon could do as his side find themselves behind!
62′ Martinez may be having a rough start to the second half after giving up a free-kick for handball and bundling Portu over for the penalty, but at least he’s allowed to stay on the field. He was initially shown a red card by the referee for the foul, but after a VAR check – it’s been rescinded and the defender has been given a yellow.
60′ The referee is taking his time sorting things out in the aftermath of the penalty decision. He has gone over to the monitor to review the incident and speak to VAR – presumably about the colour of Martinez’s card.
58′ PENALTY TO SOCIEDAD! UNBELIEVABLE! Martinez, ex-Real Sociedad defender is having a game to forget! Merino intercepts the ball in midfield with foresight and plays an absolutely superb pass around the defence into the path of Portu. The winger latches onto the ball and looks to have a shot – but is bundled over clumsily by Martinez.
56′ With over 65% possession, Sociedad have dominated the flow of the game. Athletic have been more than happy to sit back and attempt to counter; though neither side has been able to effectively employ their strategy flawlessly. Perhaps a change from the bench can turn the tides.
54′ Athletic Bilbao have lost the last four Copa del Rey finals they’ve appeared in after winning in 1983/84 – losing in 1984/85, 2008/09, 2011/12 and 2014/15. Even still, they remain second in cups with 23, only behind Barcelona’s 30.
52′ Williams tracks back deep into his own half to win back possession after a dangerous spell of Sociedad pressure and wins a free-kick for his efforts after Merino’s overzealous efforts to block the forward from counter-attacking.
50′ Oyarzabal floats the free-kick deep into the 18-yard box, but it’s Raul Garcia who rises highest to nod away the danger.
50′ The VAR has nothing to add to the situation, as Oyarzabal is indeed given a free-kick, though no card is produced.
49′ Before allowing Sociedad to take the set-piece, the referee brings the game to a halt to have a word with the video assistant. It doesn’t appear as though the handball occurred inside the penalty area – but the question is being asked.
47′ Real Sociedad are given a free-kick for handball after Oyarzabal’s low cross was met by the elbow of a sliding Martinez, but the captain is unhappy as he is protesting for a penalty – the infraction coming right on the line of the 18-yard box.
46′ Athletic get the match restarted from the kick-off!
Athletic have found it very difficult to keep possession in midfield, with the wings doing most of the attacking work. That has isolated Williams, who has struggled to get involved in play. Perhaps the addition of another striker to play alongside him will be of benefit; as Villalibre is available from the bench. Sociedad have done well to get the ball in attacking areas but are missing the cutting edge necessary to take the lead. Fortunately for Alguacil – he has a number of options to change things up including Bautista, Fernandez and former Manchester United winger Januzaj.
Both sides enter the half-time interval level at 0-0 after a tightly contested affair. The two Basque clubs looked nervous in the early going, with the occasion and the rain combining for a loose and sloppy opening quarter-hour. Sociedad seem to have shaded the contest so far, with more possession and more total shots, though the best chance seems to have fallen to Athletic, via Martinez’s accurate shot from distance. The tempo and the aggression seemed to have picked up as the first half rolled on – making for what should be a fascinating second period.
45′ + 1′ HALF-TIME: ATHLETIC BILBAO 0-0 REAL SOCIEDAD.
45′ The fourth official indicates there will be one minute added for stoppages at the end of the first half.
43′ Remiro comes flying off of his line to catch the ball on the edge of the six-yard box, before Williams’ cross was allowed to find Raul Garcia at the far post.
41′ Sociedad are once again in control of possession with just five minutes left in the first half. It doesn’t look like either side will be able to break the deadlock before the interval, though the two sides seem more intent on not conceding, than on scoring.
39′ Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad have played each other 167 times between La Liga and Copa del Rey fixtures – with Athletic winning 68 times to Sociedad’s 56.
37′ With over 30 minutes gone in the final, neither side have convinced enough to deserve the lead. It’s been a tight affair, though Real Sociedad seem to just be edging it on the balance of play; seeing more possession and taking more shots.
35′ It’s starting to get heated between the two sides as the referee brandishes his first yellow card of the match. It’s shown to Dani Garcia for a foul on Portu.
33′ WHAT A SAVE FROM REMIRO! Simon boots the ball away from his goal, finding Martinez with pinpoint accuracy. The centre-back makes the most of his forward position, cutting inside and firing a laser which would have crept in just under the crossbar had the Sociedad goalkeeper not been alert to the danger.
31′ Muniain takes a corner towards the edge of the six-yard box, but Oyarzabal is back to do his defensive work, getting a head to the ball to clear it away.
29′ Muniain bursts into the penalty area with trademark speed, before turning Gorosabel around with a beautiful cut inside. The Athletic captain gets a bit too fancy, trying to cut back and have a strike, but he allows the Sociedad full-back to regain his footing and make a great clearing tackle.
27′ Sociedad try to make something happen down the right through Gorosabel, but his early cross to Isak is watched well by Martinez.
25′ Monreal slowly makes his way forward to get involved in the attack but loses possession to the backtracking Berenguer. The counter-attack was on, but a smart and cynical foul from the former Arsenal full-back stops play, allowing him to get back into a defensive position.
23′ CLOSE! Sociedad pile on the pressure after Isak is played through on goal, but he’s unable to turn a shot towards Simon, drawing the keeper off his line and passing back to David Silva. The Athletic defence does well to close down the space and force a subsequent pass to the right flank, from where a cross is delivered into the arms of the goalkeeper.
21′ The 2019/20 Copa del Rey final between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad is the first all-Basque cup final since 1927, when Real Union beat Arenas 1-0 after extra time.
19′ Oyarzabal takes a corner-kick to the far post for Gorosabel, but Portu gets himself involved, jumping over the back of Martinez and sending the centre-back to the ground. It’s a free-kick for Athletic from inside their own 18-yard box.
17′ Berenguer gets into a good position on the right and flashes a dangerous, low cross into the middle of the penalty area for Williams. All it needed was a touch to take it past Remiro, but a crucial touch from Zubeldia puts it the other way.
15′ Incredible vision from Oyarzabal who plays a fantastic pass from inside his own half between Athletic’s centre-backs for the run of Portu. The captain put just a little too much power on his delivery, allowing Simon to gather – but it was well worth the try.
13′ Real Sociedad are taking every opportunity they can to keep the ball in their own half and slow down the play. Le Normand and Zubeldia seem comfortable keeping possession in their ranks, moving Athletic’s attack from left to right in search of space.
11′ A long delivery down the right finds its way through the Athletic defence for Isak, who keeps the play alive by finding David Silva. The playmaker looks to change the angle of the attack, but De Marcos steps across and intercepts the pass.
9′ Athletic are pressing extremely quickly as soon as Sociedad make a pass backwards, with Williams and Raul Garcia immediately looking to catch Le Normand in possession. It’s forcing Alguacil’s side to move the ball around rapidly; perhaps too much so.
7′ The heavens have opened up as the rain continues to hammer down in the south of Spain. It’s beginning to affect the way the match is played after Raul Garcia’s pass dies in the grass as water begins to accumulate.
5′ Oyarzabal sprints down the left flank and plays a pass forward for Oyarzabal, who is forced to foul De Marcos, who had shielded the ball effectively. It’s a free-kick for Athletic, who can clear their lines with the set-piece.
3′ It’s a frenetic start from both sides, who are looking to get the ball forward into opposition territory as quickly as possible. Both XIs seem nervous as the rain pours down in Sevilla, with neither able to keep the ball for any length of time.
1′ Real Sociedad get the match underway from the kick-off!
Real Sociedad opt for a 4-3-3, with ex-Arsenal full-back Monreal lining up alongside Le Normand, Zubeldia and Gorosabel. The midfield trio features former Manchester City magician David Silva beside Zubimendi and Merino, while Portu and Oyarzabal flank either side of Isak.
Athletic line up in a 4-2-3-1, with Simon protected by a back four of De Marcos, Yeray, former Sociedad defender Martinez and Berchiche. Dani Garcia and Vencedor are expected to hold in midfield while the trio of Berenguer, Raul Garcia and captain Muniain supply striker Williams.
REAL SOCIEDAD SUBS: Gaizka Ayesa, Aritz Elustondo, Aihen Munoz, Mobido Sagnan, Ander Guevara, Carlos Fernandez, Adnan Januzaj, Ander Barrenetxea, Jon Bautista.
REAL SOCIEDAD XI (4-3-3): Alex Remiro; Nacho Monreal, Robin Le Normand, Igor Zubeldia, Andoni Gorosabel; David Silva, Martin Zubimendi, Mikel Merino; Mikel Oyarzabal, Alexander Isak, Cristian Portu.
ATHLETIC SUBS: Jokin Ezkieta, Unai Nunez, Mikel Vesga, Ibai Gomez, Unai Lopez, Inigo Lekue, Asier Villalibre, Ander Capa, Mikel Balenziaga.
ATHLETIC XI (4-2-3-1): Unai Simon; Oscar De Marcos, Yeray Alvarez, Inigo Martinez, Yuri Berchiche; Dani Garcia, Unai Vencedor; Alex Berenguer, Raul Garcia, Iker Muniain; Inaki Williams.
With 10 minutes to go before kick-off, let’s take a look at how the two sides are lining up – starting with Athletic Bilbao!
Athletic Bilbao are put in a curious position today, competing in a Copa del Rey final (last years’ postponed showpiece) against Real Sociedad just nine days ahead of their 2020/21 cup final, when they will play Barcelona.
Athletic Bilbao come into the match in better form with two draws in their last two fixtures, though it can’t get much worse for Sociedad – whose 1-0 defeat to Granada was followed up with a 6-1 thrashing at the hands of Barcelona just before the international break. It is today’s visitors who lead in the table, however, with 10 points separating Imanol Alguacil’s side in 6th from Marcelino’s, who occupy 9th.
Postponed last year due to the Coronavirus pandemic, both Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad have been eagerly anticipating this fixture; the first time the two Basque rivals will face in a Copa del Rey final. It’s been over three decades since either club has lifted the famous trophy, though Athletic have found silverware since then in the form of two Spanish Supercups in the last six years.
Hello and welcome to our LIVE commentary of the Copa del Rey final between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad!