A great goal from Yuri Berchiche on 81 minutes puts Athletic into the final, where they will fight for the title against Real Sociedad next month
Struggling -the same as in the whole competition-, Athletic Club, a team that prizes this tournament above all else, have qualified for the final scheduled to be played in Seville. Real Sociedad will be waiting for them there, in what is going to be an unprecedented Basque duel. Entering the box like a flash after a deep ball from Vesga, Yuri Berchiche scored a wonderful goal in the second half, managing to drag his side out of the mire they were in after the header goals Carlos Fernández and Germán had previously scored.
The goal from Yuri on 81 minutes will be impossible to forget. Justice was done thanks to Berchiche -who had already rescued Gaizka Garitano’s side in Tenerife- in a match where the smallest margin jeopardized their place in the final despite having shown an overwhelming superiority at San Mamés. Fortunately, neither Yuri, nor Iñigo Martínez, nor Williams were booked during the match, so they will be available to play the final.
It was a war of nerves. Neither Granada showed their true form, nor Athletic seemed willing to risk much for getting up front in search of the goal needed to seal their passage to the final. In fact, there were no troubles until Williams, getting into the box on 27 minutes, centered a ball that Víctor Díaz almost put in his own net. Rui Silva’s reflexes prevented it from happening. Immediately after that play came another one, where a shot from San José, following an assist from Yuri, hit the outside of the net.
The best chance for Garitano’s lads in the first half came when a long ball from Yeray was controlled by Williams, and the latter’s back pass was fired over the bar by Raúl García. It did not mean that Athletic were superior, they were just feeling comfortable.
We already knew that set-pieces were one of the locals’ biggest strengths. Indeed, at the last moment before the break, a header from Yangel Herrera was miraculously cleared off the goal line by Williams. All our hearts skipped a beat. But it was in the second half when the real problems came in the form of two headers, converted by Carlos Fernández and Germán. Thankfully, Yuri emerged once again as our saviour. Time to bring home our 25th Copa title!