Bilbao cruise into final of Copa del Rey

February 8th, 2012 - 1:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Bilbao (Spain), Feb 8 (IANS) Athletic Club Bilbao assured their place in the final of the Copa del Rey football for the 36th time in the club’s history with a comfortable 6-2 win at home to Mirandes.

The La Liga side, who had won the first leg 2-1 away from home, showed there is no time for false emotion in football, by stamping their authority on the game and racing into a 3-0 lead against a side that has captivated Spain this season.

Mirandes play in the third tier of Spanish football and had knocked three La Liga sides out of the competition on their way to the semifinals of the Cup, but Athletic showed no mercy, Xinhua reported.

The game was barely 10 minutes old when Athletic added to their lead with Iker Muniain slotting home from Oscar de Marcos’s cross in the home side’s first systemic attack.

Mirandes had barely recovered when the Basque side put together another fine passing move, which led to Markel Susaeta doubling the lead with another cool finish.

Before 25 minutes were up, Ion Autenetxe headed home a third goal after Susaeta’s fine cross allowed him to nod the ball over the visiting keeper.

The three goals gave Athletic a 5-1 aggregate lead and left Mirandes needing to score four goals to qualify.

Mirandes’ only response was a shot from Pablo Infante and it was comfortably saved by Athletic keeper Gorka Iraizoz.

The start of the second half saw Infante have a shot blocked after his side’s best move, but Athletic looked to be in comfortable control of the game until Aitor took advantage of some slack defending to stab home from close range for the visitors 10 minutes post the break.

Spain international Fernando calmed any home nerves 20 minutes from time scoring with a neat chip after beating the offside trap to make it 4-1 on the night and two minutes later added a fifth to spark massive celebrations in the San Mames Stadium and chants of “yes, we are going to Madrid,” where the Athletic fans hope the final will be held.

Mirandes netted a late consolation goal following a free kick.

The Basques will know their rivals for the Cup final after the remaining semifinal between FC Barcelona and Valencia is played Wednesday. The sides drew the first leg 1-1 last week.

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