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Thursday, June 20, 2024

Real Madrid treble Dreams End as Athletic Club Strike late in Copa del Rey Quarterfinals

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Alex Berenguer scored a late winner for Athletic Club to claim a famous 1-0 victory over Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey quarterfinals.

Substitute Berenguer curled a left-footed shot past Thibaut Courtois in the 89th minute at San Mames to finally provide reward for Athletic, who had dominated the match without being able to make an breakthrough.

Madrid’s best chance fell to Casemiro, whose low second-half shot was saved by keeper Julen Agirrezabala.

Madrid went into the tie missing injured top scorer Karim Benzema and without a recognised left-back, with Ferland MendyMarcelo and Miguel Gutierrez all absent. Carlo Ancelotti opted for David Alaba on the left, and picked a front three of Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo Goes and Marco Asensio.

The team’s bus was met by a hostile reception on its way into the stadium, with bottles being thrown, smashing one of the bus windows; Athletic later apologised for the incident.

Athletic started well, as Courtois saved two-handed from Dani Garcia‘s powerful long-range shot. Iker Muniain fired into the side netting after beating Casemiro inside the box, and a last-ditch challenge from Eder Militao was needed to prevent Nico Williams getting in on goal.

Muniain shot off target, and Lucas Vazquez blocked Inaki Williams‘ goalbound effort, as Athletic’s control of the game continued before half-time.

The second half began with more of the same; Inigo Martinez heading Muniain’s free kick inches wide, before Raul Garcia failed to divert another Muniain delivery towards goal.

Ancelotti introduced Isco for a tired-looking Vinicius, who started for Brazil against Paraguay on Tuesday, but Madrid’s best chance fell to Casemiro, denied by Agirrezabala.

With seconds remaining in normal time, substitute Berenguer stepped inside Nacho before shooting past Courtois to see Athletic into the semi finals.

Athletic will join Rayo VallecanoValencia and Real Betis in Friday’s semifinal draw.

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