Atletico face Athletic in Copa del Rey semis

AFP , Friday 26 Jan 2024

Atletico Madrid will face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey semi-finals after they were paired in Friday's draw.

Athletic Bilbao
Athletic Bilbao players celebrate their victory in front of their fans at the end of the Spanish Copa del Rey (King's Cup) quarter-final football match between Athletic Club Bilbao and FC Barcelona at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on January 24, 2024. Photo: AFP


Real Sociedad face Real Mallorca in the other match of the home-and-away ties.

Athletic defeated Spanish champions and record 31-time cup winners Barcelona on Wednesday in a dramatic 4-2 extra-time victory at San Mames.

The first legs are set to take place in the week beginning February 5, with the returns scheduled for the week beginning February 26.

Atletico eliminated rivals and current cup holders Real Madrid and narrowly scraped past Sevilla to reach the final four, with Diego Simeone's side last winning the tournament in 2013.

"It will be a nice, hard-fought game," said Atletico defender Mario Hermoso.

"We are really looking forward to this double-header with the hope of being able to get to the final."

Athletic have won the tournament 23 times, behind only Barcelona, but their last triumph came in 1984. Since then the Basque side have reached the final six times but lost on each occasion.

"We're playing against a team that is armed well enough to win trophies," warned Athletic midfielder Ander Herrera.

"It will be tough, (but) it's true that the fans will have the chance to see the second leg at home, where we feel strong."

This year's final will take place in Sevilla at La Cartuja stadium on April 6.

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