Athletic has taken the measure of this format of the Cup. He will be in the semifinals, for the fourth time in a row. At Mestalla, he overcame his 19th tie in a single match and showed that the lion lives not only from San Mamés, with an Iñaki Williams who distributed assists in the absence of a goal. Valverde, all told, found less of a rival than he could have expected. Valencia was a puppy without a mother, a phone without a battery. His game was an ode to nothing. His oasis called Copa is gone, his journey through the desert of his season is going to be long. Mestalla is fed up.
That the party was going to be Rock and Roll was expected hours before it started. Because of the atmosphere that was breathed in the surroundings of Mestalla and because of the alignment of one and the other. Gattuso and Valverde wanted to be brave, although the defeated will rather say that the Italian was daring. In the case of a life or death appointment, the Italian preferred to be faithful to his ideas. So no 4-4-2: Guillamón-Yunus-Ilaix. The Valverde thing was not a question of approaches but of names. His daring when it came to facing the evening was reflected by matching Herrera and Muniain in the eleven. He came out perfectly.
Athletic was planted better at the start. Well, starting and ending. With more order and sense. His pressure made Valencia was like 4G on the road, at times and in fits and starts. Without Almeida, the midfield is linear and with each pass that was given between Mamardashvili, Diakhaby and Cömert, because they couldn’t find who to give it to to break lines, it was accompanied by a runrún in the stands. It shouldn’t have been easy to be on the pitch listening to the complaints, but it wasn’t easy to be in the stands watching what your team was playing either, because it made you desperate. Mestalla has gotten tired of that way of playing. And the buzz turned into a whistle when Muniain shot Mamardashvili.
Athletic took the lead after one of the many innocent tricks by the black and white network, which lost the ball around its area and, with a cross from Herrera and an assist from Iñaki Williams, was left dead in the small area so that muniain scored his first goal of the year against a Primera, second in the Cup.
After that goal, the field factor went from being expensive for Valencia to being its cross. The anger after each loss was a beef from the fans of the team and heavenly music for Valverde’s men, who smelled blood. But, look where, or example of the lack of control, when the game was heading towards the break, Diakhaby appeared for the extreme position, he left Yeray and his center sent him to the net without wanting to De Marcos. Mestalla went from regretting to euphoria… and immediately to disappointment, because it didn’t take his defense for two minutes to mess it up again. Berenguer stole Foulquier’s wallet, stood up Cömert, passed it on to Iñaki Wiliiams and he to his brother to make it 1-2. All this happened in the Ché area without anyone in white avoiding it.
Gattuso left Diakhaby in the locker room at halftime and Mestalla applauded a long kick from Mamardashvili as if it were a corner kick. The night for Valencia was for the front door due to a comeback, unexpected due to their game to tell the truth, or nursing due to a blow. Athletic and VAR ensured that it was the second. Because the slight advantage was the only thing that kept Valencia alive in the match, even though Jaime Latre warned Del Cerro Grande of a kick to the foot from Cenk to Iñaki Williams. VAR penalty. Never better said, because live it was difficult to see. Vesga did not miss. Athletic just had to let time pass and listen to how Mestalla asked Peter Lim to leave.
Cenk Özkacar (45′, Mouctar Diakhaby), Hugo Hard (56′, Edinson Cavani), Andre Almeida (56′, Yunus Musah), Fran Perez (56′, Samu Castillejo), Marcos Andre (74′, Hugo Guillamón), Daniel Garcia (78′, Ander Herrera), oihan sancet (78′, Iker Muniain), Gorka Guruzeta (87′, Inaki Williams), Raul Garcia (93′, Nico Williams)
0-1, 34′: muniain1-1, 42′: From Marcos1-2, 44′: Nico Williams1-3, 73′: vesga
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande
VAR referee: Santiago Jaime Latre, Alejandro Muñiz Ruiz
Mouctar Diakhaby (27′,Yellow) Daniel Vivian (31′,Yellow) Yunus Musah (46′,Yellow) Eray Cömert (72′,Yellow) Julen Agirrezabala (77′,Yellow) O.sancet (87′,Yellow) Moriba Kourouma (96′,Yellow)