Athletic beat Barça 2-3 to be crowned Super Cup champions
Athletic Club have won the Spanish Super Cup. A win for the model. Philosophy and ambition.
Athletic’s third Supercopa trophy will go down in history for how it was won.
First the Lions knocked out Real Madrid in the semi-finals and then at La Cartuja they sunk FC Barcelona 2-3. Athletic came back from 2-1 down with an excellent, hard-working performance that culminated in a special extra-time strike by Iñaki Williams.
Never say die. Athletic shocked Barça, who with two minutes left, thought they were heading home with a 14th Supercopa in their hands. That was until, a Lezama-graduate, a Buffalo named Asier Villalibre equalised in the 90th minute from Iker Muniain‘s free-kick.
The Lions went out with very clear ideas: press hard and be patient with the ball. A game leaving Barça with space to play would not have worked.
Initially everything went the way Athletic wanted. The Rojiblancos had the first serious shot at goal, with full-back Ander Capa‘s shot inside the box forcing Andre Ter Stegen into action.
Leo Messi, Athletic’s executioner in so many finals, couldn’t hit his stride. But he’s always capable of ending matches. He threatened Unai Simón with a thunderous long-range drive and played the pass to Jordi Alba that ended up in a goal for Antoine Griezmann in the 40th minute.
But Marcelino’s Athletic have the guts to go with their calm head. Within seconds, they were off down the left and Williams sent in a cross which Oscar De Marcos got to before Ter Stegen, finishing past the German keeper with a deft touch.
Who better to get Athletic of the ground than one of the old guard, one of the winners from 2015.
In the second half, Messi had a go from a free-kick and Raúl García had a goal ruled out for offside when he headed home from Muniain’s free-kick.
Williams hit the side netting when he had time and space in the box and in the 77th minute Barça took the lead. Griezmann scored after connecting with Alba again.
But Athletic never give up and Villalibre played his trumpet to perfection, finishing from a Muniain free-kick just before the final whistle blew.
The goal led Athletic into the extra-time their play merited and they weren’t done yet. In the 93rd minute, Williams picked up the ball and curled one into the top-right corner. Exquisite goal.
Messi saw red after striking out at Villalibre in the 120th minute and Athletic lifted the Supercopa. The first of two potential trophies Athletic can bring back to Bilbao this season.
Time to celebrate with pride and measure. There will be time to do it properly!