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Copa del Rey: Granada come within a whisker


As you'd expect, Los Cármenes was jumping with all of the emotion of the Copa del Rey on Thursday night. It was a beautiful game with a colossal effort put in by Granada although they did not get their reward because of the only well-worked play of the game by Athletic Club. It ended with the splended Yuri strike hit with the rage that sums up Athletic Bilbao's love for this competition. Until then, the 2-0 on the scoreboard was a fair scoreline based on what had happened and would have seen Athletic Club knocked out, giving Granada their reward for an impressive performance. Better positioning, more energy, outnumbering their opponents in attack with one eye on goal and the other on a teammate.

The weight of the away goal undoes Granada

The weight of that away goal. Granada brought a 1-0 from San Mamés (where they might have deserved more) and not scoring an away goal proved costly. Their insistent workrate and intelligence for 90 minutes was undone by one single play, which came on the back of a defensive lapse. Today, Granada's heartbreak will be enormous, but the merit of that Copa run remains. Their return to the final has been postponed (the last time they made a final was 1959) until who knows when, but their fans and all of Spain look at this team and the manager with massive respect. The Copa will not be the same without them.

And so, the final between Athletic and Real Sociedad, unprecedented in this competition according to me yesterday. In 1910 there were two Copas. Madrid played in the 'official' one. The other was in San Sebastián, with Madrid invited along with Athletic Club and Vasconia in a three-team group stage. Athletic Bilbao won and played Club Ciclista (champions from the year before), who would later become Real Sociedad. Instability of the time. In time, they would give official status to both titles and so the final in Donosti between Athletic Club and Vasconia was deemed the real final of this version of the Copa. Vasconia were 'almost' Real Sociedad. 110 years later, the heirs of their heirs will meet face-to-face in Sevilla.


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