Bilbao has a 1-0 advantage from the first leg when they travel to Granada Thursday to fight for a place in the cup final. Could this finally be Athletic Bilbao’s season to win claim a 24th title in the Copa del Rey? Only Barcelona with 30 has lifted the Copa Del Rey more times than Athletic Bilbao. Unfortunately for their supporters, the last taste of glory in that competition was back in 1984! Since 2009 they have gotten a sniff of the trophy three times. Each time they lost to final though to…Barcelona.
Now with Barcelona out of the way in this year’s tournament, Bilbao will never forgive themselves for not at least making the final. The advantage lies with the visitors, thanks to a solitary goal scored by Muniain in the first leg at San Mames. Granada has never won the competition and the closest they have ever been was a 4-1 mauling in the 1959 edition. Once again Barcelona was the nemesis.
Granada is quite a useful team on their own patch. In fact, they’re a top-six team if they only played at the Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes. They showed off how difficult they can be to handle at their own turf when beating the holders Valencia in the previous round. Granada condemned them to a 2-1 defeat.
Atletic going for the win
Athletic Club is on a four-game winning streak against Granada. The last win could have had a bigger scoreline than 1-0 if VAR hasn’t interfered. Or if the hosts had been more clinical with their 23 attempted shots. Converting shots into goals has not been their strong suit this season and they average less than a goal per game away from home in La Liga.
The odds on the match are pretty evenly matched, and we are not sure that should be the case with Granada at home. Yes, the Basque giant should have made a bigger advantage for themselves in the first leg. They only have one away win in La Liga though which is pretty far from impressive.
They may end up regretting how wasteful they were with the chances they created at San Mames. The double chance on Granada looks the safer option. We could also picture the home side claiming a one-goal win to take this into extra time. Or perhaps sending Bilbao through to the final on away goal.