Athletic booked their place in the Copa del Rey round of 32 on Saturday with a convincing 4-0 win over neighbors Sestao River. It was the first time the Bizkaia clubs had met since 1989 but Athletic didn’t take any chances against the Tercera side as Gaizka Garitano fielded a very strong lineup. In the end, the quality of the Lions decided the final result.
As expected, Athletic were very strong from the opening kickoff and quickly settled into control of the game. The Lions would eventually score the first goal in the 26th minute when Yuri Berchiche sent a low cross into the box where Asier Villalibre did well to beat the goalkeeper. Minutes later, Iñigo Martinez played a beautiful ball to split the defense and Berchiche ran onto the pass and tucked a shot into the far corner to double the lead.
The Zurigorri continued to dominate possession and chances after the break and captain Iker Muniain would eventually make his return from a hamstring injury when he replaced Raúl García in midfield. Villalibre would score his second goal of the game in the 70th minute following a great dribble from Iñaki Williams to create space in the box. The winger found Villalibre who once again calmly finished in front of goal.
Athletic could have had several more goals with Ander Capa and Muniain both missing chances that they should have scored, but the match wasn’t over yet. Just before stoppage time Iñigo Lekue sent a cross to the back post where Berchiche fired a shot past the goalkeeper to give the Lions a 4-0 lead and the victory.
The match at Las Llanas was special for both clubs as well as the fans, but the result came as no surprise. Athletic had no problems dictating play against Sestao River and cruised to victory in what was a solid performance. Having booked their place in the next round, Athletic must now wait for the remainder of the matches to be played before the draw reveals which team they will face later this month.