Villalibre and Williams inspire Athletic comeback against Alcoyano
Athletic Club booked their place in the Copa quarter-finals after coming from a goal behind to beat a resolute CD Alcoyano 1-2.
The match bore many similarities to the round-of-16 tie with Ibiza. Athletic were losing at half-time but fought back to win in the second half thanks to headed goals by Asier Villalibre and Iñaki Williams.
The draw for the quarter-finals contains seven Primera division sides and one from the Segunda in Almería.
CD Alcoyano came out fighting and in the first minute Ángel López struck the woodwork.
Although the Lions controlled possession they struggled to break down Alcoyano’s defence in the first half.
The Rojiblancos really took charge of the match and began to create clear chances. It started to feel like it was only a matter of time until Athletic got an equaliser.
It came in the 52nd minute, right-back Iñigo Lekue, wearing the captain’s armband for the first time, cut inside and whipped in a cross with his left foot which Villalibre tucked away with a thumping header at the back post.
Athletic almost got the second in the 63rd minute, Raúl, Muniain and Villalibre linked up well and the latter was millimetres away from finding the back of the net.
Iker Muniain, who moved up to eighth in the Lions’ all-time appearance makers list with 445 matches, had a shot saved by Alcoyano’s José Juan soon after.
The winning goal came in the 77th minute, Muniain swung the ball into the box from a free-kick out wide and Williams beat José Juan to the ball to head it in.
It was plain sailing from here on in and Athletic are in the pot for the quarter-finals. A fifth consecutive win in all competitions since Marcelino took over.
On Sunday, the Lions head to the Camp Nou. It’s time to recharge the batteries and go again.