On Thursday, February 10th, 2022 Athletic Bilbao was attempting to advance to their 3rd – consecutive Copa del Rey final, although Athletic Bilbao was held down to a 1 to 1 draw at home in the 1st – leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals versus Valencia.
Raúl García opened the scoring for the home team as he knocked in a goal with a sweet header coming off of a free – kick from his teammate Iker Muniain during the 37th – minute of game play on Thursday. Valencia scored the equalizing goal during the 65th – minute with a crucial goal coming from point – blank range by Hugo Duro off of the loose rebound after a shot by Bryan Gil. Those were the only 2 – goals in this highly – contested game between Athletic Bilbao and Valencia in this first leg of the Copa del Rey semifinal battle.
The 2nd – leg of the Copa del Rey semifinals will be on Wednesday, March 2nd, 2022 at Valencia’s historic Mestalla Stadium. On the other side of this Spanish Cup tournament, Real Betis ultimately rallied back to finish off Rayo Vallecano with a 2 to 1 victory in the 1st – leg of the other Copa del Rey semifinal on Wednesday, February 9th, 2022.
Athletic Bilbao lost to their Basque Country rivals in Real Sociedad in the Copa del Rey finals during the 2019 – 2020 season, and they managed to lose to Barcelona in the finals of the Spanish Cup last season (2020 – 2021) too. Athletic Bilbao is the competition’s 2nd – most successful football club with 23 – total titles, behind only Barcelona’s 31 – total titles, but they have yet to lift that coveted trophy since way back in the year of 1984.
Athletic Bilbao is presently one of the fiercest teams in the Spanish LaLiga League under their head coach in Marcelino García Toral, who has knocked off Barcelona in the Copa del Rey’s final – 16 as well as Real Madrid in the quarterfinals of the tournament.
They are undefeated in 5 – matches throughout all competitions, with Athletic Bilbao’s last defeat coming versus Real Madrid in the finals of the Spanish Super Cup which was played in Saudi Arabia this season due to the COVID – 19 safety protocols, following them eliminated the Spanish League champion in Atlético Madrid during the highly – contested semifinals.
Athletic Bilbao was actually overmatched as well as outplayed by Valencia over the beginning of their match on Thursday, February 10th, 2022 which was hosted at the historic San Mamés Stadium. They gradually recaptured the momentum and control of the contest as Athletic Bilbao was by far the most threatening side for the remainder of the game, but they were incapable of capitalizing on their well – developed scoring opportunities that came late in the match.
Athletic Bilbao currently sits in 8th – place in the standings of the Spanish LaLiga League, which just so happens to be 3 – spots in front of Valencia, who are attempting to revisit the Copa del Rey finals after winning their 8th – title in the competition back in 2019.
Valencia has won their previous 3 – Copa del Rey contests, but they are winless in their past 5 – matches in the Spanish LaLiga League at the moment.
The visiting side apparently complained aggressively as they were calling for a penalty that was not granted following a breakaway during the final several minutes of this game.
Azzoni, Tales. “Athletic held by Valencia in 1st leg of Copa semifinals.” The Associated Press. February 10, 2022.
Bonn, Kyle. “Copa del Rey semifinals schedule, scores & highlights for 2022 Spanish Cup”. The Sporting News. February 9, 2022.
“Copa del Rey”. Copa del Rey Semifinals. February 11, 2022.