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Bilbao face Sociedad in Copa del Rey final

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Seville, April 2 (IANS) Athletic Club Bilbao and Real Sociedad will make history when they feature in their first-ever duel in a Copa del Rey final at the Estadio de la Cartuja on Saturday.

The 2020 final was postponed from a year ago due to the coronavirus crisis, with both teams preferring to wait until this April rather than play it last summer in the hope that fans would be able to travel to watch the game.

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Sadly, the ongoing health situation means that has not been possible and supporters have had to be satisfied with decorating the streets of Bilbao and San Sebastian with their respective colors (red and white for Athletic and blue and white for Real Sociedad), reports Xinhua.

However, 2,000 fans did give Athletic an emotional, if not exactly socially distanced, send-off on Thursday as the club travelled to Seville.

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Although the stands in La Cartuja will be empty, the game still promises fireworks as Athletic look to claim their first Copa del Rey since 1984, while their rivals have not won the Cup since 1987.

Only FC Barcelona have won more than Athletic’s 24 Copas and the side coached by Marcelino Garcia Toral got a morale boost after beating Real Madrid and Barca on their way to winning this season’s Supercup.

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Athletic also have more experience of playing big games, after playing (and losing) the 2009, 2012 and 2015 Cup finals (all of them against Barca) and the 2012 Europa League final, which they lost to Atletico Madrid.

Real Sociedad meanwhile have to go back to 1988 for their last final appearance, when they were beaten 1-0 by Barcelona.

–IANS

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