Athletic once again faced off with their executioner in the Cup. Marcelino arrived at Anoeta with a baggage of a defeat in a confrontation as an Atletico coach against Imanol: the Cup final last Saturday. Mr. txuri urdin had not been bad at all with Gaizka Garitano: three wins out of four derbies. The last rojiblanca victory in the San Sebastian fiefdom, in fact, went back to the 2016-17 campaign with Eusebio on the local bench and Valverde on the Bilbao side (1-3).
Villalibre's goal very close to the end of this derby seemed to end this streak of Bilbao defeats against the Txuri Urdin team. Nothing is further from reality. Unai Simón, in an action that is still difficult to understand and assimilate, was unable to remove a poisoned lateral ball from Roberto López at the edge of the 90th minute. how little the Athletic coach likes it, he went back up to the scoreboard without there being time to try to change it.
Another of the most morbid issues aroused in the hours prior to this clash in the Gipuzkoan fiefdom was knowing what the rojiblancos were going to do in the run-up to the clash. The reception of the lions to the Royal, in any case, had already been advanced by Marcelino in the eve of the game, but still some were still skeptical about it. There was hallway to the champion, as it has to be.
To the lions, by the way, they also dedicated their own corridor, with music and everything, at the exit of their concentration hotel in Donostia. There, some ingenious fans of the Txuri Urdin team had the same idea as other no less witty Atletico fans months ago in Ibaigane. And even there you have to read because the only thing these tourists are after is to have free advertising. What level!
There were, going back to what is really important in what is usually called other football, more details of sportsmanship on the part of Athletic. Raúl García, for example, threw the ball out in the middle of the rojiblanco counterattack so that Aihen was assisted, who had to be changed immediately due to injury. Imanol was not far behind in his healthy understanding of this type of confrontation either, as he was pleased to applaud Yuri when he had to leave the field after being substituted after suffering a muscle puncture.