Andoni Goikoetxea “It’s Been Years Since I Enjoyed An Athletic Goal As Much As Last Night”
Athletic legend and ambassador Andoni Goikoetxea was once again present for the Copa del Rey draw on Friday morning as he represented the club. The Lions, who defeated Barcelona the night before at San Mamés, were drawn against Granada for the semifinals which will be played across two legs. With the victory still fresh in mind Goikoetxea was full of excitement as he talked about the team’s chances of winning the Cup.
“It’s been years since I enjoyed an Athletic goal as much as last night,” he said. “You have no idea. We were all thinking about extra time and Barcelona had a couple of very good chances. Then Williams scored a header. Barcelona is always the favorite and that’s the case when they have a €500 million budget. Athletic fought and we had our chances, as did Barcelona. The fortune of Iñaki Williams scoring in the 93rd minute made a comeback impossible. It was nice.”
Goikoetxea explained that Athletic were not afraid of Barcelona going into the match and were prepared to face one of Europe’s biggest clubs with confidence. The win was massive, but the semifinals will be yet another challenge.
“Neither they nor we were going to be afraid. Athletic has suffered with this new format. I’m not going to say Athletic was better or worse than Barcelona, but we have qualified for the semifinals and for that we are very happy. This was the goal. Granada is a team in the middle of the table and we have one more point than they do, but that has nothing to do with the Cup. The best game I’ve seen from Granada was the one against Valencia. In this round you have two games to play and win.”
There was a possibility that Athletic could have been drawn against Real Sociedad, but the two were fortunately kept apart. Goikoetxea admitted that’s what he wanted to happen but made it clear that Granada will be a difficult side to face in the semifinals.
“What I didn’t want was to draw Real Sociedad. We play them Sunday and it would have been a lot to play them on Wednesday again. Mirandés was the one that we all liked. They are in the Segunda but come from beating three Primera teams. They are a team that has something special. Granada is a seriously competitive team and dangerous opponent. It’s going to be a complicated tie.”
Thursday night’s win over Barcelona also set an attendance record with 49,154 fans packed inside San Mamés. “It was a party and the fans supported the team like never before,” said the club legend. “La Gabarra is three games away, although it won’t be the same from from the eighties. Many years have passed and that one isn’t in the right condition. We will have to look for an alternative if the time comes.” The hope of winning a 25th Copa del Rey title lives on.