Marcelino García Toral praised his players’ spirit and character after Athletic Club booked a place in the Copa del Rey semi-finals with a penalty-shootout victory against Real Betis.
After Juanmi put Real Betis 1-0 up in the 84th minute, Athletic looked destined to return to Bilbao empty-handed. But forward Raúl García popped up to score a header in the 94th minute and Unai Simon pulled out two great saves in the penalty shooutout to ensure the Lions’ place in the semi-finals.
“We’re very proud of our players,” Marcelino said during his post-match press conference. “This team never lets up. They work the same way whether they are losing, drawing or winning.
“The players always give their all. They are enthusiastic, they compete, they want to win and with that sense of belief they get great results.
He refused to take any plaudits for the victory, adding: “The players are the real protagonists and it’s them who make so many of us enjoy Athletic so much.
“We’re very happy to be in the semi-finals, with the four best team in this competition.”
The Athletic Club boss stated he believed the result was fair, despite it being a close game, he said: “It was an even encounter, with few chances at goal.
“Maybe we deserved to go ahead before they did, but we were forced to mount a comeback.
“In extra-time both teams were very fatigued and the lottery that is a penalty shootout came out in our favour.”
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