Athletic’s quest to reach the Copa del Rey final faced a major challenge on Wednesday night as the Lions hosted Granada for the semifinal first leg at San Mamés. Playing at home gave Athletic an important opportunity to establish a lead before traveling to Andalusia for the second leg. As expected, the atmosphere and support at the Cathedral was incredible and pushed the team to a thrilling performance.
From the opening whistle Athletic were in complete control of the match. Granada created a handful of dangerous moments, though the Basques carried the game forward and were a constant threat in the final third. The opening goal would eventually come just before halftime when Iñaki Williams was played down the left side. After beating a defender, Williams played a pass to Iker Muniain who finished in front of goal to give the Lions a deserved 1-0 lead.
It looked as though Athletic had doubled their lead in the 48th minute when Yeray scored from a free kick, though the offside flag was up. Athletic continued searching for more goals as Granada struggled to keep any possession or deal with balls played forward to Williams. Ander Capa looked to have scored the second at the hour mark with a volley from just inside the box but VAR called the goal back because Williams was obstructing the goalkeeper’s view from an offside position.
In the end, a second goal would never come and Granada were unable to put any shots past Unai Simón. Athletic won the match 1-0 after throughly dominating play and will take their advantage to Nuevo Estadio de Los Cármenes on 5 March in hopes of reaching the final and challenging for a 25th Copa del Rey title.