Athletic Club came back from a goal down to beat Atletico Madrid 2-1 in the semi-final of the Supercopa de Espana in Saudi Arabia on Thursday evening. The result means that they’ll be the ones to face Real Madrid in the final on Sunday evening after Los Blancos beat Barcelona in the other semi-final last night.
Joao Felix had the ball in the net inside a minute only for the linesman to rightfully flag for an offside. But that was pretty much it for a first half characterised by a half-empty stadium with a flat atmosphere. The second half, however, was another story.
It was Felix who broke the deadlock in the 62nd minute, his header beating Unai Simon when it probably shouldn’t have after Thomas Lemar whipped in a corner from the left side. Athletic struck back in style, however, scoring twice in the space of four minutes to turn the tie on its head.
First Yeray powered home after being assisted by Iker Muniain in the 77th minute and then Nico Williams – Inaki’s little brother – scored the winner in the 81st. Athletic, the holders of the Supercopa of course, can now dream of retaining their title.
“It’s difficult to explain,” Jan Oblak said post-match in comments carried by Marca. “Two goals from set pieces. We’ve conceded a lot of them this year. We’re disappointed because we wanted to win, but we haven’t done enough. I wish all the luck in the world to Athletic. They deserve to be in the final.
“We didn’t play a good game. That wasn’t the plan. Our plan was to play higher, to press and have more of the ball. The whole team is disappointed but we have to correct our mistakes, improve a lot and pick ourselves up. There’s no other choice.”