Athletic Club host Levante UD this Thursday at San Mamés in the Copa Del Rey 2020-21 semi-finals (21:00 CET).
The Lions, who defeated Granada last season to reach the final, are in the semi-finals for a second consecutive season, something which they haven’t managed since the 80s, when they recorded four semi-final appearances in a row from 1983-84 until 1986-87.
Last season, Athletic got to the final after knocking out two Tercera División sides, CF Intercity and Sestao River, in the opening rounds, before going on to beat Elche CF and CD Tenerife in the following matches. In the quarter-finals, the Lions defeated FC Barcelona at San Mamés, and subsequently overcame Granada CF in the double-legged semi-final tie.
This season, Athletic received a bye due to competing in the Supercopa. They kicked off their 2020-21 Copa campaign with victories over UD Ibiza and Alcoyano in the rounds of 32 and 16, respectively. And last Thursday, they defeated Real Betis on penalties to make the semi-finals.
You have to go back 34 years to find the last time Athletic reached consecutive semi-finals, which they managed four years on the trot in the 80s: 1983-84, 1984-85, 1985-86 and 1986-87.
In 83-84, with Javier Clemente at the wheel, Athletic overcame Cartagena FC, Real Sociedad and Sporting Gijón to reach the semi-finals, where they faced Real Madrid. The Lions won 0-1 in the Santiago Bernabéu, but lost by the same result at The Cathedral, thus needing an agonising penalty shootout (4-3) to reach the final. Athletic would go on to win the competition, with Endika scoring the only goal of the match in a 1-0 victory against FC Barcelona.
In 84-85, Athletic sealed a place in the semi-finals after knocking out SD Eibar, Alcoyano, Deportivo Alavés and Real Sociedad. In the semi-final, the Lions beat Real Betis 2-0 in the first leg, with goals by Miguel de Andrés and Andoni Goikoetxea, they lost 1-0 in the second leg but still went through. In the final, which took place at the Bernabeú, Athletic lost 2-1. Hugo Sanchez ensuring victory for Los Blancos despite a Julio Salinas strike.
The following season, Athletic entered the tournament in the round of 16, defeating Castellon and Sabadell on the way to the semis, where the lost 3-1 on aggregate to FC Barcelona.
In a similar vein to the previous year, Athletic received a bye and knocked out Langreo and Logroñes to make it to the semis. At the penultimate hurdle, they faced Basque rivals Real Sociedad but lost 1-0 on aggregate.
Highlights I Levante UD 1-1 Athletic Club (LaLiga Matchday 25)
A game of two penalties, as both sides get a point
Marcelino: “A victory for us would’ve been fair”
Marcelino bemoaned the defensive mistakes that led to Levante’s goal
Athletic held to frustrating draw by Levante
Despite constantly threatening, Athletic only pick up one point from a match where both goals came from the penalty spot
Confirmed line-ups: Levante UD vs Athletic Club
The XI’s for tonight’s LaLiga match at the Ciutat de Valéncia
Global TV Guide: Levante UD vs Athletic Club (LaLiga Matchday 25)
When and where to watch Athletic’s upcoming LaLiga match against Levante UD
Marcelino: “We’re focused on winning tomorrow”
Marcelino looks ahead to Friday night’s LaLiga Santander match against Levante UD
Squad list: Levante UD vs Athletic Club (LaLiga Matchday 25)
Marcelino has called up 23 players for Friday night’s clash with Levante UD at the Ciutat de València
A big week against Levante
Athletic will face Levante twice in six days, starting with a LaLiga fixture on Friday (21:00 CET)
Raúl García: “The more difficult the challenge, the better”
After extending his contract with Athletic Club until 2022, Raúl García expressed his intention to keep going “as long as he was up to the task of competing for this Club”
Raúl García signs contract extension until 2022
The agreement includes an option for a further season depending on a number of targets.