Athletic Club Juvenil A Beats Deportivo 8-3 On Aggregate To Advance To The Cup Quarterfinals
Athletic Club’s Juvenil A team may be one of the best generations of players to come through Lezama in a long time. Lead by manager Aritz Solabarrieta, the team finished their league season as champions with a three point lead over second-placed Real Sociedad and a goal difference of +47. Their strong season saw them drawn against Deportivo La Coruña in the Cup with hopes of making a deep run at the title. In the first leg Athletic won 4-3 with two goals from Ruben Azcona, and one each from Unai Vencedor and Ewan Urain. On Saturday they won the second leg 4-0 to book their place in the quarterfinals.
Playing in Lezama for the second leg was a clear advantage as the Katxorros were in complete control from start to finish. The midfield pairing of Unai Vencedor and Oihan Sancet dominated possession and dictated the pace of play, while wingers Jon Cabo and Keenan Mendibelzua constantly attacked defenders and created space. That space was used well by Ruben Azcona and Ewan Urain who caused problems for Deportivo the entire match.
Urain opened up the scoring in the 24th minute when Vencedor split the defense with a beautiful pass to put the striker in on goal. He calmly finished past the keeper and from there the team really began to turn on the pressure. Early in the second half saw Keenan double the lead when the ball fell to him just outside the box. The winger settled it with his head and finished from close range. Only minutes later Azcona was fouled at the top of the box and was awarded a free kick. Gorka Estrada stepped up and placed a shot into the bottom corner where the keeper had no chance of reaching it. The fourth goal came on a counter attack when Keenan found Sancet running into the box. The midfielder blasted a shot into the back of the net to finish off the game.
Saturday’s victory qualified Athletic for the quarterfinals of the Cup where they will face even stronger competition. It has truly been a remarkable season for a team that is extremely talented and has quality at every position. Players like Vencedor, Sancet, and Azcona are really showing that they have the potential to become special players in the future and that should have fans excited. For now the focus is on continued development and preparing for the opponent they will face in the next round.