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Athletic Bilbao logo
Copa del Rey | Semi-Finals | 2nd Leg
Feb 29, 2024 at 8.30pm UK
San Mames Barria
Atletico Madrid logo

Athletic Bilbao
3 - 0

Williams (13'), Williams (42'), Guruzeta (61')
Ruiz de Galarreta (40'), Muniain (45+3'), Lekue (66'), de Marcos (74')
FT(HT: 2-0)

Hermoso (28')

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

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

A place in the Copa del Rey final will be on the line when Athletic Bilbao welcome Atletico Madrid to San Mames for the second leg of their last-four tie on Thursday evening.

The hosts take a slender lead into the home clash after they recorded a narrow victory at the Wanda Metropolitano earlier this month.

Match preview

Athletic Bilbao's Gorka Guruzeta celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 24, 2024© Reuters

Athletic have the upper hand in their fifth consecutive Copa del Rey semi-final appearance after Alex Berenguer's 25th-minute penalty proved enough to guide Ernesto Valverde's side to a 1-0 win in the first leg.

Since enjoying a successful trip to the capital, Los Leones went on to play out a goalless draw with Almeria and claim a 3-2 victory over Girona, before they were beaten 3-1 in Sunday's away meeting with Real Betis.

Having collected 49 points from their 26 league matches, the fifth-placed side are currently in the hunt to return to the Champions League for the first time since 2014-15, with three points separating them from Atletico in fourth position.

The Basque outfit will briefly put their top-four push on hold as they bid to reach the Copa del Rey's showpiece event for the first time since playing back-to-back finals in 2021 due to the fact that the 2019-20 final was pushed back due to COVID-19.

Having lost each of their last six final appearances, Athletic are still dreaming of lifting the Copa del Rey final for the first time since 1983-84 when they beat Barcelona 1-0 to win the competition for the 23rd time in their history.

With Athletic looking to protect their narrow advantage from the first leg of their semi-final tie, they will look to draw inspiration from the fact that they have avoided defeat in each of their previous 14 competitive home games.

Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente celebrates scoring against Real Madrid on February 4, 2024© Reuters

Unfortunately for Atleti, the defeat to Athletic on February 7 has led to a poor run of form which has seen them win just one of their last five matches across all competitions (D1, L3).

They bounced back from a loss against Sevilla to thrash Las Palmas 5-0, before they fell to a 1-0 defeat in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Serie A leaders Inter Milan.

Diego Simeone's side experienced another disappointing outing at the weekend, as they gave up the lead on a couple of occasions to draw 2-2 with basement side Almeria at the Power Horse Stadium.

As a result of Saturday's frustrating result, Atleti have now failed to win any of their last four away matches, while they also won just two of their previous eight games on their travels.

Their recent away form will be a cause for concern ahead of Thursday's trip to San Mames, with the visitors looking to overturn a first-leg deficit and secure their place in the Copa del Rey final for the first time since winning the competition 11 years ago.

Although Atleti have lost to Los Leones on two occasions this season, they have progressed from each of their last three two-legged Copa del Rey ties against the Basque club, with the most recent of those aggregate victories taking place in 2013-14.

Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey form:

Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):

Atletico Madrid Copa del Rey form:

Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):

Team News

Athletic Bilbao's Nico Williams celebrates scoring their second goal with Inaki Williams and Daniel Vivian on December 16, 2023© Reuters

Athletic are still upon to call upon the injured Ander Herrera, while Yuri Berchiche is unlikely to feature after he was forced with a hamstring problem in the first half of Sunday's defeat to Betis.

Yeray Alvarez was not utilised against Los Verdiblancos due to an ankle issue, and the centre-back remains a doubt for Thursday's semi-final clash.

Unai Simon will be replaced in goal by Julen Agirrezabala, who has featured in all six of Athletic's Copa del Rey matches this season.

Despite being sent off at the weekend, Nico Williams will be available for the second leg, with his suspension only applicable to La Liga matches.

As for the visitors, they will be without the services of Cesar Azpilicueta, Jose Maria Gimenez and Thomas Lemar due to injury.

Atletico Madrid's top scorer Antoine Griezmann faces a race against time to be ready for the second leg after he sustained an ankle injury in last Tuesday's Champions League clash with Inter Milan.

Alex Witsel and Mario Hermoso are expected to be recalled to the side to feature in central defence alongside Stefan Savic.

Simeone could also decide to bring Marcos Llorente and Alvaro Morata into the starting lineup for Thursday's away trip.

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Agirrezabala; De Marcos, Vivian, Paredes, Garcia de Albeniz; Prados, Ruiz de Galarreta; I. Williams, Sancet, N. Williams; Guruzeta

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Llorente, Savic, Witsel, Hermoso, Lino; De Paul, Koke, Barrios; Correa, Morata

SM words green background

We say: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Atletico Madrid

Atleti have won just one of their last five away matches, and with Athletic unbeaten in their previous 14 matches at San Mames, we think that the hosts will make full use of home advantage to claim a narrow win and secure their place in the Copa del Rey final.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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