Mirandés fail to roll over against Real Sociedad
If Wednesday's game at San Mamés ended 1-0, Thursday's clash at the Reale Arena ended 2-1. Two results that leave both Copa del Rey semi-finals very much alive ahead of the second legs in March. After watching the tie in San Sebastian, second tier Mirandés refused to roll over against the top flight side and offered an accomplished display. They made "La Real" work hard and on occasion broke forward with players in abundance in attacking positions. When they failed to find away through the blue and white shirts, they opted for shots on the edge of the box and Remiro was calle into action on more than one occasion. The ball is the goalkeeper's worst enemy and firing shots on target, especially with accuracy is always a fine tactic.
As anticipated, it was the home side who showed more initiative and this team who recorded recent wins over Madrid and Athletic came up against a very dogged side on the night in Mirandés. La Real took an early lead from the penalty spot and then we saw how the visitors drew level on the 40th minute mark with the LaLiga side pulling ahead before the break when Odegaard, Messi-esque broke into space and fired on target. Mirandés stopper Limones parried the ball back into Portu's path and his effort was bounced straight to the Norwegian who lashed the ball home from short range. It really is a joy to see how Martin Odegaard has developed and matured as a player.
When the semi-final draw was made, many neutrals hoped that the final game would throw up a Basque derby between Athletic and La Real. Ahead of both ties, Athletic were probably slight favourites with the San Sebastian outfit ranked as second favourites. After both first legs, stats show that how 60% of games with a similar scoreline (1-0) the side with the one goal advantage progresses with the holder of the 2-1 lead advancing on 51% of all contests. The home side almost made it 3-1 on the night in the final throws of the match but Mirandés keeper Limones made a stunning stop to keep the scoreline to 2-1 which is probably a fair reflection of what we witnessed at Anoeta. This year's Copa del Rey fails to disappoint with emotion and tension guaranteed ahead of the return legs.