Riyadh, Jan 14 (IANS) Athletic Club Bilbao qualified for their second Spanish Supercup final in two years as they came back from behind to beat Atletico Madrid 2-1.
The first half was a close, tactical affair, with both looking to cancel the other out and although Joao Felix had the ball in the net in the first minute, it was ruled out for offside on Thursday evening.
Both sides had early penalty appeals rejected by the VAR, with Thomas Lemar going down in the Athletic area, while Oihan Sancet went down at the other end after a challenge from Geoffrey Kondogbia.
Inaki Williams had Athletic’s best chance, but couldn’t beat Jan Oblak as he controlled a ball over the top, while at the other end Yannick Carrasco, who was the pick of the bunch for Atletico, drove powerfully at Unai Simon, Xinhua reports. Things looked good for Atletico when Joao Felix’s corner bounced off the post and into the net off Unai Simon’s back in the 62nd minute.
However that sparked a brave fightback from Athletic Club, who equalised in the 77th minute through Yeray Alvarez’s powerful header, just minutes after Atletico keeper Oblak had stopped a powerful header from Inigo Martinez.
A goal from 19-year-old Nico Williams completed the fightback with seven minutes left as the ball fell to him from another corner.
He also saw Oblak produce another save from his powerful shot as Athletic ended up on top, while Atletico’s night went from bad to worse in injury time when central defender Jose Gimenez was shown a direct red card for dangerous play as he caught Martinez in the head with a full set of studs.
Athletic will face Real Madrid, who beat FC Barcelona 3-2 on Wednesday, in the Spanish Supercup final on January 16.