MX23RW : Tuesday, April 13 13:43:11| >> :600:176658:176658:
Feb 11, 2021 at 8pm UK at San Mamés Barria
Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao
1-1
LevanteLevante
Martinez (58')
Martinez (19'), Garcia (31')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Melero (26')
Coke (35')

Preview: Athletic Bilbao vs. Levante - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Copa del Rey clash between Athletic Bilbao and Levante, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Cup specialists Athletic Bilbao will be looking to remain on course for more silverware when they host Levante in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final on Thursday.

The Lions won the Supercopa de Espana last month and are still waiting to face Real Sociedad in last season's rescheduled Copa del Rey final, which is set to be held in April.

Levante have never won any major cups but will see this as a huge opportunity to change that given that they sit above Athletic in the La Liga table.


Match preview

Athletic Bilbao celebrate beating Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup final on January 17, 2021© Reuters

Athletic will consider themselves hugely fortunate to still be in contention for what could technically be back-to-back Copa crowns after surviving a big scare in the last round.

Raul Garcia scored a 94th minute equaliser for Athletic against Real Betis before the Basque side went on to win 4-1 on penalties.

Marcelino's side also played away in the previous two rounds, seeing off Ibiza and Alcoyano - the side that knocked out Real Madrid - by the same 2-1 scoreline.

Levante have had to come through five rounds to make it this far, most recently beating Villarreal 1-0 in extra time in the quarter-finals thanks to Roger Marti's last-gasp goal.

Including their cup victories, the Frogs are now unbeaten in nine matches since early January and are ninth in La Liga with 27 points.

Levante's Jose Luis Morales celebrates scoring their first goal against Real Madrid on January 30, 2021© Reuters

That is two more points than 11th-placed Athletic, who played out a 1-1 draw with Valencia in their most recent league match.

The sides may be battling it out for a place in Europe next season, but for now both teams will be fully focused on progressing in the Copa del Rey.

The second leg of the tie is scheduled to take place at Estadio Ciutat de Valencia on March 4, with the winners over 120 minutes - or potentially more - to face either Barcelona or Sevilla in the final.

Athletic won 2-0 when the sides last met in the league four months ago - the Lions' fourth successive victory over Levante, each of those games in the league.

Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey form: WWW
Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions): WWWLWD

Levante Copa del Rey form: WWWWW
Levante form (all competitions): DDWWWD


Team News

Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams in action against Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos in La Liga on July 5, 2020© Reuters

Influential midfielder Iker Muniain missed Athletic's draw with Valencia because of a knock and remains doubtful for this cup tie.

Peru Nolaskoain and Mikel Balenziaga are the home side's confirmed absentees, while Inigo Vicente tested positive for coronavirus last week and is isolating.

Inaki Williams and Asier Villalibre have a combined five goals in their last eight appearances and are expected to lead Athletic's line.

As for the visitors, Cheick Doukoure was back among the subs for the 2-2 draw with Granada on Saturday and could come into the XI here.

Jorge de Frutos recovered from injury to play a part from the bench in that most recent match, meanwhile, leaving Jose Campana as the only confirmed absentee.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Lekue, Alvarez, Martinez, Berchiche; De Marcos, Garcia, Muniain, Berenguer; Villalibre, Garcia

Levante possible starting lineup:
Cardenas; Coke, Postigo, Vezo, Tono; Radoja, Malsa; Son, Rochina, Bardhi; Marti


SM words green background

We say: Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Levante

Athletic Bilbao, two points worse off than Levante in La Liga, will be looking to make home advantage count in this tough-to-call two-legged cup tie.

Marcelino's men have a good record in this fixture and tend to do well in domestic cup competitions, so we are tipping them to take a slender lead into the return match.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Atletico MadridAtletico30207352203267
2Real Madrid30206453242966
3Barcelona30205569264365
4Sevilla30194744242061
5Real Sociedad301211747311647
6Real Betis30145114043-347
7Villarreal301113643331046
8Granada30116133650-1439
9Levante30911103739-238
10Celta Vigo30910114148-737
11Athletic Bilbao30910113933637
12CadizCadiz3098132745-1835
13Valencia30810123742-534
14Osasuna30810122536-1134
15Getafe3079142234-1230
16Huesca30512133145-1427
17Real Valladolid30512132741-1427
18ElcheElche30511142746-1926
19AlavesAlaves3059162447-2324
20EibarEibar30411152236-1423

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