Osasuna upsets Athletic, reaches Copa final for 2nd time

Tue, Apr 4, 2023
Soccer News (AP)

Osasuna upsets Athletic, reaches Copa final for 2nd time

MADRID (AP) - Osasuna pulled off yet another Copa del Rey upset by eliminating Athletic Bilbao in extra time Tuesday to reach the final for the first time in nearly two decades.

Late substitute Pablo Ibanez scored with a volley from the edge of the area on a breakaway in the 116th minute to secure a 2-1 aggregate win that sent the Pamplona club to the final for the first time since 2005.

Athletic had forced extra time at San Mames Stadium after winning 1-0 in regulation with a goal by Inaki Williams in the 33rd. Osasuna had won the first leg 1-0 at home.

Osasuna will play the final against either Barcelona or Real Madrid, who meet in the other semifinal at the Camp Nou Stadium on Wednesday. Barcelona can advance with a draw after winning the first leg 1-0 in Madrid.

Osasuna had eliminated defending champion Real Betis on penalties in the round of 16 and Sevilla in extra time in the quarterfinals.

Athletic was trying to reach the Copa final for the third time in four seasons. It was runner-up to Basque Country rival Real Sociedad in 2020 and to Barcelona in 2021. It had also made it to the last four last season, losing to Valencia.

Athletic is the second most successful club in the competition with 23 titles, eight fewer than Barcelona. But it last won the title nearly four decades ago after beating Barcelona in the 1984 final.

Soccer

Osasuna - ninth in the Spanish league, two spots behind Athletic - lost to Betis the only other time it reached the Copa final 18 years ago.

Athletic controlled the pace from the start at San Mames and Williams opened the scoring from close range after the ball fell to him in front of goal following a corner kick.

The hosts had a few other good chances to extend the lead in regulation, including a couple for Williams' younger brother Nico, who missed over the crossbar from close range with only the goalkeeper to beat following a breakaway in the 70th. He also missed an opportunity from inside the area in the 87th.

Ibanez, who came off the bench in the 100th, netted the decider with a few minutes left in extra time with a right-footed volley into the far corner past Athletic goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala.

The kickoff was delayed for 10 minutes because Osasuna's bus had difficulties getting into the stadium.

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Tales Azzoni on Twitter: http://twitter.com/tazzoni

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