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Valencia v Athletic Club Live Commentary, 03/03/22

FT
1 - 0
VAL
ATH
Gonçalo Guedes (43)
Estadio de Mestalla

Commentary

That's all from us, we hope you enjoyed the game. Until the next one, goodbye!
Valencia's victory puts them into their first Copa del Rey final since 2018-19, and given that Los Che won that final, as well as the two they appeared in before that (1998-99 and 2007-8), they'll surely be confident that they can back up this excellent performance with one that will gain them some silverware. Bilbao, whose coach Marcelino won that 2019 final with Valencia, miss out on the chance to go one better than the runners-up position they achieved last season, and can now concentrate on pushing for a European spot next season.
Whilst Guedes' winner will deservedly gain the plaudits, the performance of stand-in captain Carlos Soler in midfield was dynamism personified. Half of his four shots were on target, and he also completed a key pass and good cross. Defensively too he stood out, pulling off four clearances and making a vital block in an all-action performance to say the least.
The full-time whistle goes, confirming Valencia's place in the final of the Copa del Rey! Goncalo Guedes' fantastic first-half finish was enough to seal their passage through, and despite Bilbao having chances throughout the game, Valencia were deserved winners and will go on to face either Real Betis or Rayo Vallecano in the final!
90' + 7' FULL-TIME: VALENCIA 1-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO (2-1 on aggregate).
90' + 6' SAVED!!! Valencia fly forward and Moriba is put into space. He squares the ball to Soler inside the six-yard box, and his close-range finish is only kept out by a great save from the chest of Agirrezabala!
Oier Zarraga
Yellow Card
Athletic Club
90' + 5' Valencia look to break but a heavy Duro touch sees him shunted to the floor by Zarraga, who is booked, and rightfully so.
90' + 3' WIDE!! Muniain swings in a corner that Alderete heads clear. It falls to Yuri who hits a half-volley that just skids wide of the post! That was a close one!
M. Diakhaby
Yellow Card
Valencia
90' + 2' Following a foul by Foulquier, Diakhaby takes far too long to release the ball for Bilbao to take the free-kick, and is booked for time-wasting by the referee.
90' + 1' CHANCE!!! A long ball from the free-kick finds its way to Duro, who squares the ball for the inbound Moriba. Alvarez pulls of a fantastic last-ditch piece of defending, sticking out a leg to knock the ball clear of the danger area!
90' + 1' We're into SIX minutes of added time, and this game is far from over yet!
90' Musah and Petxarroman tussle for the ball, with the Valencia substitute coming out on top before being dragged down by his Bilbao counterpart, winning a free-kick.
88' The clock is ticking away Bilbao's chances of turning this tie around second by second, and Valencia are now purely in game-management mode, not risking much and stacking the defence whenever the Basque side come forward.
86' An excellent ball forward from Martinez puts Sancet into space, but before he can shoot Diakhaby sticks a foot in to disrupt possession and the ball bounces through to Mamardashvili!
85' Two blocks from Alderete deny Bilbao. The first, a low cross from Zarraga, is headed away to Williams, but the Valencia defender again steps in to deny him crossing space.
Substitution
83' An awkward landing sees Gabriel pick up an injury, and he's forced off with Hugo Guillamon taking his place at the back for Valencia.
Oier Zarraga
Mikel Vesga
Athletic Club
82' The industrious Vesga is replaced by Oier Zarraga for Athletic Club.
80' Yuri has been fantastic down the left for Bilbao all game. He's attempted five crosses, has the best passing percentage of any Bilbao player in Valencia's half, and has won all of his aerial duels, contributing to nine turnovers of possession for the hosts.
78' Mamardashvili's long kick forward isn't properly dealt with by Bilbao and allows Guedes to capitalise and shoot. Luckily Alvarez gets in the way and blocks the shot from close range!
77' Nico Williams is sandwiched between Alderete and Lato in an ugly challenge, but whilst the away supporters call for a second yellow, the referee does not brandish a card of any colour.
75' SAVED!!! Yuri strikes the free-kick well, and it clears the wall, but Mamardashvili's positioning is superb and he catches the shot first-time!
74' It's fouls galore at the Mestalla at the moment, as in one passage of play, Moriba gets into a tangle with Williams before Soler has two goes at Muniain, fouling his opposite number right on the edge of the box and being lucky to avoid a card!
O. Alderete
Yellow Card
Valencia
73' After Alvarez is floored by the elbow of Alderete, in a tackle more akin to a high tackle in rugby, the Valencia defender is rightfully booked. Had the Bilbao midfielder not already been falling into that, that card could've well been a different colour.
73' Foulquier lands awkwardly after beating Muniain to a high ball, and has picked up a slight injury. A minute or so of treatment later however, and he's fit enough to carry on.
Y. Musah
Bryan Gil
Valencia
71' Gil's been much quieter this second half, and Yunus Musah takes his place on the field for Los Che.
70' WIDE!!! Muniain is found in the box with time and space to shoot, but his lashed effort curls around the outside of the post and behind!
Nico Williams
Álex Berenguer
Athletic Club
70' Berenguer is the next Bilbao starter withdrawn, and he's replaced by Nico Williams.
69' Williams has Diakhaby beaten for pace, and so the defender's only option is to slide in and stab the ball away from his feet, resulting in a Bilbao corner!
68' Yuri and Muniain play a great one-two inside the Valencia box, but the left-back's cross is just too quick for Sancet to head in!
66' WIDE!! Bilbao surge forwards on the break and Berenguer whips in a cross from deep. It finds Sancet at the far post, who can't set himself in time and stabs his finish into the side netting!
66' Duro and Vesga collide on halfway, and it's quite a cynical foul from the Athletic midfielder, but the referee gives on a free-kick, with no cards in sight.
64' WIDE!!! Foulquier gets around the outside and crosses into the area, which is met by a spectacular overhead kick from Soler! The captain's effort is an acrobatic one to say the least, but it flies just wide of the target!
63' Sancet tees up Vesga on the edge of the area, but the midfielder's low effort is poor and drifts well wide of the Valencia goal.
Alex Petxarroman
Lekue
Athletic Club
61' The third of Bilbao's changes sees the booked Lekue brought off for Alex Petxarroman Eizaguirre.
Oihan Sancet
Raúl García
Athletic Club
61' Raul Garcia is also brought off, replaced by Oihan Sancet for Athletic Club.
Unai Vencedor
Dani García
Athletic Club
61' Dani Garcia is withdrawn in Bilbao's first change, and Unai Vencedor enters the fray.
Íñigo Martínez
Yellow Card
Athletic Club
60' Guedes latches onto a loose ball and looks to knock it clear of Martinez, but the Bilbao defender brings him down, preventing him from racing away untouched and conceding the booking-worthy free-kick.
58' Muniain attempts a speculative clipped cross to Williams who is sprinting into space, but out comes Mamardashvili to head the ball clear from well outside his box.
56' Valencia create a good attacking position, with Moriba creating space for Soler to cross. It's a tad too well hit by Los Che's stand-in captain, and sails over the heads of everyone before the ball is gathered by Agirrezabala.
54' It's clear that Bilbao favour the left side when looking to create attacking opportunities. There's constant link-up play between Yuri and Muniain down that side, but Valencia are repelling all of their goalward ventures at the moment.
52' Moriba is fouled once again, this time by the trailing leg of Raul Garcia. He's been on the end of a fair few late tackles tonight!
51' Lekue makes his way to the byline before squaring the ball inside to Berenguer. He looks able to get a shot away, but his first touch lets him down and the home side clear!
49' Berenguer almost sneaks in between Diakhaby and Foulquier inside the Valencia box, but the former passes back to Mamardashvili, who clears under pressure!
47' Muniain releases Yuri to cross, and the left-back does so, forcing the first corner of the second half after Gabriel boots the ball behind!
46' The second half kicks off, and it all comes down to this final 45 minutes!
The teams are back out for the second half, and the hosts know that they have one foot in the final!
Although Guedes' screamer separates the two sides, Valencia's Gil looked like their most creative player by far in that first half. Two shots, one of which was blocked, as well as a key pass and eight attempted crosses, suggests that he is one to keep a close eye on as this game opens up - even more - in the second half.
Well, didn't that half just fly by! Despite both sides flying forward at breakneck speed for 45 minutes, it didn't look like an opener was coming, given that neither side had shot on target. That was before the ball fell to Guedes from a free-kick, who rifled in a finish worthy of winning any cup tie. It's put Valencia ahead in this game, and on aggregate, but Los Che will need to play to their best to keep out Bilbao, who through Williams, are far from finished.
45' + 3' HALF-TIME: VALENCIA 1-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO.
45' + 3' SAVED!!! Los Che break at pace with Gil again creating all sorts of problems. His cross flies all the way through to Soler, who forces a close-range save from the goalkeeper! Duro looks to tap in the rebound, but Yuri blocks and clears for Bilbao! This game just doesn't let up!
45' + 2' Williams races onto a ball forward and stumbles over before he can beat Gabriel, but Berenguer is in support and picks up the ball before Gabriel again intervenes and clears!
45' + 1' We're one minute into two of time added on at the end of this first half.
45' Alderete scythes down Raul Garcia on the right-hand touchline, and after a slight fracas between the players, Berenguer will take the deep free-kick.
Gonçalo Guedes
Goal
Valencia
43' GOOOOAAAALLL!!!! WHAT A STRIKE!!!! Valencia break the deadlock and it's an absolutely spellbinding finish from Guedes!!! From a headed-away free-kick, the forward picks up the ball 25 yards from goal, and picks his spot before rifling the ball through all the bodies and beyond Agirrezabala! What a superb finish, and Valencia lead 1-0, 2-1 on aggregate!
41' SAVED!!! Williams is put through on goal by a delightful ball forward from Vesga and puts on the afterburners to beat Diakhaby to the ball. He takes a touch too many though, and my the time he does shoot, Mamardashvili is out of his goal and denies the striker from close range!
39' Despite having more possession than Valencia (58.5 per cent), Bilbao have conceded seven fouls already, although they're yet to see any yellow cards come their way. With a duel success rate of just 48 per cent, it's no wonder that Bilbao's players are resorting to fouls, and they'll need to be more disciplined if they're to make that superior ball control count.
37' Vesga tramples on the feet of Moriba late, and concedes another free-kick in midfield. The referee has been happy to let a lot go so far tonight, but that was a free-kick without question.
35' Berenguer cuts inside and drives straight at the home defence. He does well to make his way into the box, but it's a poor final ball, redeemed only by a deflection off Alderete that wins Athletic a corner.
Toni Lato
José Gayà
Valencia
33' After being unable to shake off that earlier injury, Valencia captain Gaya will come off. Toni Lato takes his place at left-back, and Soler will take the captain's armband for Los Che.
31' It's become quite the battle in midfield in the last 10 minutes or so, with both sides looking for gaps in their opposition's defences, and picking the subsequent passes as quickly as possible. The tempo is still electric, but it's becoming far less end-to-end than the early stages of the match.
29' Some great vision from Dani Garcia finds the late run of Yuri from left-back. He in turn looks to take on Diakhaby, but the Valencia defender is equal to his trickery and wins possession cleanly.
27' OVER!!! Muniain and Martinez stand over the free-kick, with the former taking it, but the Bilbao captain's curling shot is always rising and clears the crossbar by some distance!
Gabriel Paulista
Yellow Card
Valencia
26' Williams takes on Gabriel and almost gets around him, but the Valencia defender stands his ground and collides with the Bilbao forward, conceding a free-kick and receiving the game's first yellow card in the process.
24' Williams looks to take on Diakhaby and cuts inside to beat him, entering the box. He tries a cute back-heeled throughball to Muniain but Foulquier is back and sticks out a leg to deny the Atheltic captain!
22' Valencia break through Duro, who races clear before finding Gil in support. He dribbles into the box and crosses, but it's headed away by Martinez for Bilbao!
21' SAVED!!! More Bilbao pressure sees Berenguer's cross headed away to Dani Garcia, whose volleyed rebound is blocked. The ball finds its way to Muniain, who lashes at a close-range finish, but Mamardashvili saves well at his near post!!
20' Bilbao steam forward and Williams, who started the move, receives the ball on the left. His cross is slightly overhit and Alderete heads away, but Berenguer recovers the ball before finding Dani Garcia, whose cross is limp and goes behind for a goal kick.
18' Williams sends Diakhaby flying as the Valencia defender rises for a high ball, and concedes the free-kick on the halfway line.
16' The possession stats for these sides are currently neck-and-neck with exactly 50 per cent each. It reflects the nature of this game so far, which is yet to calm down in any shape or form!
14' Valencia engineer another good attacking opportunity, with Guedes in possession on the Bilbao byline. He looks to curl an inswinging cross into the six yard box, that he gets horribly wrong and fires behind!
12' WIDE!!! Soler curls in a free-kick that is deflected to Gil. He strides out of at least three challenges on the edge of the area before curling an effort goalwards, that just shaves the outside of the post on its way behind! What a chance!
10' Gaya is clipped late by Berenguer on the near touchline, and is crumpled to the floor, but recovers to take the free-kick to keep Valencia moving forward.
8' So far, both sides' passing accruacy is below 66 per cent, with Valencia's at just 50 per cent. It's a clear indication that both sides are throwing caution to the wind in this tie, with both throwing everything at that potential spot in the final!
6' Guedes and Yuri get into a tangle and the Bilbao left-back comes off worse, requiring treatment that forces him to temporarily leave the field, and the Basque side are down to 10 men for the time being!
4' It's been a ferociously fast start to this game, and with the previous leg having been drawn at San Mames, you quickly get the feeling that this game is set to be an explosive one at both ends!
2' OVER!!! Bilbao themselves attack with pace through Williams down the right. His cross into the area is headed away, but only as far as Vesga who blazes his effort over the bar!
1' WIDE!!! Valencia fly forward straight out of the gates, with Foulqiuer finding Gil inside. He looks to shoot on the angle, but the ball hits his wrong foot, causing him to scuff the shot wide!
1' Valencia kick off, and we're underway in this Copa del Rey semi-final second leg!
The teams head out on the Mestalla pitch, and we're almost ready to go!
ATHLETIC BILBAO SUBS: Unai Simon, Alex Petxarromán Eizagirre, Unai Nunez, Oihan Sancet, Dani Vivian, Unai Vencedor, Oier Zarraga, Aiser Villiabre, Ander Capa, Mikel Balenziaga, Nico Williams.
ATHLETIC BILBAO (4-4-2): Julen Agirrezabala; Inigo Lekue, Yeray Alvarez, Inigo Martinez, Yuri; Alex Berenguer, Dani Garcia, Mikel Vesga, Iker Muniain; Raul Garcia, Inaki Williams.
VALENCIA SUBS: Jaume Domenech, Toni Lato, Yunus Musah, Hugo Guillamon, Uros Racic, Helder Costa, Denis Cheryshev, Marcos de Sousa, Eray Comert, Vazquez Acalde, Christhian Ibarguen.
VALENCIA (3-4-1-2): Giorgi Mamardashvil; Omar Alderete, Gabirel Paulista, Mouctar Diakhaby; Dimitri Foulquier, Carlos Soler, Ilaix Moriba, Jose Gaya; Bryan Gil; Hugo Duro, Goncalo Guedes.
These sides drew 1-1 at San Mames in the first leg, leaving the tie finely poised ahead of what promises to be a feisty clash at Mestalla. Real Betis or Rayo Vallecano await the winner in the final.
Hello and welcome to the second leg of the Copa del Rey semi-final between Valencia and Athletic Bilbao.