Berenguer secures another Copa final for the Lions, who will face Real Sociedad and Barcelona in consecutive finas in April
Athletic Club have reached two consecutive Copa del Rey finals for the first time since the 80s. The Lions beat Levante UD 1-2 thanks to an extra-time goal by winger Alex Berenguer.
A tremendous fightback victory, full of suspense. Marcelino’s Lions have made history and will now play two Copa finals at La Cartuja two weeks apart, April 3 and 17. First taking on Real Sociedad and then FC Barcelona.
It was an exercise in resilience and endurance. The victory was well deserved. The Lions were in control from the start and had a very clear chance in the fifth minute, with Raúl García shooting wide after a cut-back pass by Oscar de Marcos.
However, the Granotas took the lead when Rochina put the ball into the box and Roger hit the back of the net.
Athletic continued to play their own game. De Marcos put in another great cross, this time for Iker Muniain, who headed over. It was only a matter of time before Athletic scored.
A fine pass from Mikel Vesga to Iñaki Williams in space ended in a penalty when Duarte grabbed Raúl García. The referee was too quick to whistle, not giving Athletic the advantage as Berenguer pushed ball into the net. But Raúl stood up and smashed home from the spot.
Levante could have got a second before half-time, Jorge de Frutos went close and Athletic defender Yeray deflected a cross onto his own post.
Athletic showed their intentions after the restart, with midfielder Unai López firing a fierce shot at Aitor Fernandez from the edge of the box.
There was a period of play with no chances until the 65th minute. Raúl set up Williams with a clever lay-off but the Panther shot wide.
Ten minutes later, Berenguer tried to flick the ball in with the back of his head, but narrowly missed. There were no more chances until extra time, perhaps because of both teams fearing defeat.
The first chance of extra-time went to the Rojiblancos, with Raúl’s right-footed shot hitting the side netting. Unai Simón then kept the tie alive with a save from Bardhi’s free-kick.
Athletic finally got their goal in the 112th minute. Berenguer picked up a clearance by Jon Morcillo, drove into space in the middle of the pitch and let rip from distance. His shot took a deflection of Vukcevic before hitting the post and going in.
The Lions held on and could now potentially win two Copa finals in the same month.