A final between the two Basque rivals was known in March last year. After football stopped with the pandemic, the two teams tried to postpone the decision as long as possible with the hope that there would be an audience. However, the end was without crowd and occurred more than 12 months late.
Captain Illaramendi was injured in training the day before the game and Real failed to make the decision. However, he was present, on crutches, and received the trophy from the hands of King Philip VI.
Real Sociedad players fall on the pitch with confirmation of the Real Sociedad title over Athletic Bilbao – Photo: Marcelo Del Pozo / Reuters
The classic was of little chance. There were only five submissions from Athletic, and six from Real Sociedad. Bilbao was not very creative and had its main opportunity at the feet of defender Martínez, in a great shot at the 31st minute of the first stage, defended by Remiro. Interestingly, it was Iñigo Martínez himself who caused the rival goal.
At 14 minutes of the second half, he played with Portu inside the area and committed a penalty. The referee expelled the defender from Bilbao, but, after reviewing the VAR, gave only the yellow to the defender of Athletic. Oyarzabal took the free kick and sent in the left corner of goalkeeper Unai Simón, who jumped to the right: 1 to 0.
Real Sociead players celebrate Oyarzabal’s penalty kick in the win against Athletic Bilbao – Photo: Julio Muñoz / EFE
A Real Sociedad won their third competition title in what was the biggest Basque derby in history. Since 1987, when they last lifted the cup, the team has won only friendly tournaments and Spain’s Second Division.
With 23 titles, Athletic is the second biggest winner of the King’s Cup and will have a chance to win the title on the 17th. But that of 2021. Bilbao will return to the field to decide the edition of the current season, against Barcelona, which is the biggest champion of the competition, with 30 cups.
As a player, coach and former defender Imanol Alguacil spent most of his career at Real Sociedad. As a coach, he worked only at the club. Basque, Imanol is a Real fan. After winning the title, he had set aside the role of coach and assumed his side as a fan (look above).
Clusters and confusion in Bilbao
Athletic fans flock to the streets of Bilbao to follow the King’s Cup final against rival Real Sociedad – Photo: Vincent West / Reuters
The two rivals waited a year and waited the longest in hopes of having an audience in the classic, but it was not possible. The Spanish government vetoed the presence of people in the stands of the Olympic stadium La Cartuja, in Seville, in the face of the still serious situation of the pandemic in the country. However, fans gathered.
On the streets of Bilbao, hundreds of Athletic fans gathered before the match. The Basque police had to intervene to disperse the agglomeration, and there was confrontation. According to the radio “Cadena SER”, some fans were arrested, and a woman was injured.
An investigation was opened to ascertain possible perpetrators and also to determine the damage and the places that were plundered. Bilbao’s mayor, Juan Mari Aburto, condemned the agglomerations through a post on Twitter.
– Some crazy people making incidents before the final. What about families that today suffer from Covid or because they cannot enjoy this historic day? You do not represent the values of our Athletic or our city. Please, a little sanity and let’s have fun.
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