No more. Athletic has a new opportunity to win the Cup again 37 years later. It has rained a lot since Endika's goal against Urrutikoetxea in the 1984 final against Barça.
Marcelino's men failed in their attempt to re-green old cup laurels two weeks ago against Real. Beyond the defeat, what sting inside and outside the rojiblanco dressing room itself is that the team did not live up to the required level.. He competed during the first half, but after the break he was unable to intimidate and create danger against a San Sebastian team that limited itself to taking advantage of its opportunity to later live on the income.
The good thing for Athletic is that the opportunity to make up for this lost first final comes soon. Today Barça awaits you. The same rival that he defeated more than three decades ago with the historic goal of Endika and only a few months ago, in the middle of January, in the final of the Super Cup.
Between one title and another, yes, The Barça club has given time to become the new King of Cups and to deprive Athletic of winning up to three more editions of the KO tournament.. The first time in the 2008-09 final played at Mestalla. Toquero then advanced the lions of Caparros, but those of Guardiola, with Messi already in a stellar plan, they came back to leave the score at a resounding 1-4.
History repeated itself years later at the Vicente Calderón. The then team of Bielsa, who had just lost 3-0 in the 2011-12 Europa League final against Atlético de Madrid, was again defeated by the same scoreboard against Barça. Guardiola then said goodbye as Barça coach.
The third Cup that the Blaugrana team snatched from the rojiblanco at grass level took place in the 2014-15 campaign. 90,000 Athletic fans then accompanied their lions to the final played at the Camp Nou, although few more than half were able to enter the stadium. Those of Lewis
Enrique, as had happened on the two previous occasions, they imposed their law on the lions of Valverde.
That 1-3, yes, had its reward weeks later when Athletic, also at the Camp Nou itself, won the Super Cup by drawing one after the 4-0 win in the first leg at San Mamés. Aduriz He rose to the rojiblancos altars, if he had not already done so, in that two-legged crossing in which he signed four of the five Bilbao goals. Saint
Joseph initialed the remainder.
Tonight's final at La Cartuja has an extra prize for Marcelino's team. Defeating Barcelona at La Cartuja would mean winning the Cup 36 years later and, in addition, having a ticket to Europe for next season. No more no less.
Athletic has made it clear over the last three decades that it knows how to lose, that it knows how to accommodate the defeats suffered in the finals, that it knows how to congratulate the champion, that it knows how to maintain its composure even if the procession goes inside. Elizegi made it clear earlier this week that the behavior of Marcelino and his lions after falling to Real two weeks ago in Seville was a lesson in sportsmanship for Lezama's txikis and cubs.
It is time, in any case, that all these aspiring players of the Athletic first team also learn how to win a Cup final without even wearing the favorite band. Athletic has been, is and will be a noble club; but he also wears the seal of champion. Difficult yes, impossible no.