40 Year Wait to Win Copa del Rey
Athletic's goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala (R) saves a ball during the Spanish King's Cup final soccer between Athletic Club and RCD Real Mallorca at La Cartuja stadium in Sevilla, Spain, 06 April 2024. EFE-EPA/Raul Caro

40 Year Wait to Win Copa del Rey


Sports Desk, Apr 7 (EFE).-

Athletic Club won its first Copa del Rey title in 40 years after six failed attempts by beating Real Mallorca 4-2 in the penalty shootout in a heart-stopping final at Seville on Saturday.

Oihan Sancet scored in the second half to cancel out Dani Rodriguez’s opener to help Athletic end the stipulated time 1-1.

Goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala emerged as a hero with a top-class save in extra time before saving another shot in the penalty shootout.

Raul García, Iker Muniain, Mikel Vesga, and Alex Berenguer all scored for Athletic in the shootout, while Agirrezabala saved Manu Morlanes’s shot, and Mallorca’s Serbian winger Nemanja Radonjic shot out.

The match started with a lot of nerves in an incredible atmosphere in Seville.

Although Athletic initiated the first few attacks, they were stunned in the 20th minute when Dani Rodriguez scored after picking up a loose ball in the box.

Nico Williams had a goal ruled out for offside and had another chance wasted to restore parity.

Williams’s above-par display finally earned its due rewards as he set up Sancet in the 50th minute for the equalizer.

“It is a joy that we have been waiting for a long time, many years,” said a relieved Athletic coach Ernesto Valverde.

“It is a special title for the time we have waited, for the time it has taken, and for what it means for Athletic. It has no comparison,” he added.

It was Athletic’s 24th Cup title, the most behind Barcelona, whom they last beat in a final in 1983-84 before six defeats in the title deciders. EFE


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