Water in Seville. At the start and at the conclusion of a final in which Athletic only competed until a few minutes after the start of the second half. La Real, applying itself and becoming strong behind, had enough patience and consistency to wait its moment and liquidate a surprising, lazy, Bilbao team. The history of the last derby, in the League in that case, repeated itself.
No but to the deserved triumph of Donostia. The lions had more and better minutes until halftime, with an opportunity by Iñigo Martínez ruined by Remiro, but when they came back from the dressing rooms they faded as if by magic. The rojiblanco central defender himself, back from his concentration with the Spanish national team, took center stage that ended up ruining Bilbao’s options for the title.
First he was about to commit a penalty, by hand, at the edge of the area, which the VAR was in charge of denying. Minutes later, however, he knocked down Portu inside the red-and-white area, saw a red that then turned yellow and assisted Oyarzabal’s winning goal from the fateful spot.
Athletic had more than half an hour ahead to resort to the epic, but far from reacting he was sinking little by little into his own impotence. La Real, very firm in containment, played at ease and reached the final whistle with hardly any scares in defense. The Cup went to the team that best knew how to face and, above all, develop this Basque derby with a title in between. The lions’ ideas were clouded and their spirit of survival did not even help to disturb the rival framework.
Marcelino resolved the double pivot question by leaving Unai López and Vesga on the bench, both of whom were substituted at halftime in the last league game against Eibar. Vencedor and Dani García, in such a situation, exercised in the Bilbao engine room. De Marcos finally occupied the right-hand side.
Imanol, for his part, pulled practically the same eleven that came from losing by a landslide against Barça in Anoeta. Veterans Monreal and Silva, recovered for the cause, entered through Merquelanz and Guevara. The remaining nine repeated.
An intense downpour in the first minutes of the contest came to calm the spirits of both sides. Athletic started better, but Real was gradually finding its place in the field and disturbing the Bilbao defense with tickets on the wing. Yeray and Iñigo Martínez, despite everything, did not give the Donostiarras any option to the auction.
The left-handed central defender also starred in the best scoring chance of the first half. A shot of his with the right from outside the area forced Remiro to put in a good hand to deflect the ball to a corner. The fear of losing and mutual respect reigned throughout these first 45 minutes. A period with alternating dominance and control phases.
Athletic disappeared from the field after the break. An action between Oyarzabal with the hand of Iñigo Martínez and consulting the VAR for a possible penalty, not finally granted, began to take the lions out of the final. Good work from San Sebastian, too. Yeray, impeccable until then, lost a ball that fell into Merino’s boots and the Navarrese made a great pass to Portu that ended with a penalty in favor of the Donostiarras for the demolition of Iñigo Martínez with an initial red that after another pass through the VAR stayed yellow. Oyarzabal, in any case, did not forgive from the fatal point.
There was time for reaction, but it did not come. Marcelino was slow to move the bench and his changes, unlike on previous occasions, were not productive at all. Maybe next time.