Two goals from Fernando Llorente has given Athletic Bilbao a 2-1 first-leg advantage in their Copa del Rey semi-final against giant-killers Mirandes, and seriously dented the Cinderella dreams of the third division team.
Llorente scored twice in the first half to seemingly put Athletic firmly in control of this tie. But the minnows, who have dumped out Villarreal, Racing Santander and Espanyol to reach this stage, gave themselves hope of yet another upset with a last-minute goal from substitute Ander Lambarri.
Mirandes coach Carlos Pouso predicted that next Tuesday’s second-leg match at the San Mames stadium will not be easy for the Rojillos.
“We’re going to have to play the match of our lives.” the Spaniard said during a post-match press conference. “It was clearly a game of two halves; we weren’t able to do more. You couldn’t help but notice our opponents were from the first (division).”
While the late goal wil gave Mirandes a sliver of hope they can turn the tie around at the San Mames next week, Llorente was confident Bilbao would be able to hold them off.
“Conceding at the end was a shame as 2-0 would have been a great result but 2-1 is pretty good too,” he told Spanish television. “We really want to reward our fans with a trip to the final and let’s see if we have luck in the return leg.”