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Williams brothers lead Bilbao to Cup final


BILBAO, Spain: Brothers Inaki and Nico Williams scored to help Athletic Bilbao to a 3-0 semifinal victory over Atletico Madrid on Thursday and a 4-0 victory on aggregate that propelled the Basque team in his third Copa de Rey final in the last one. five years.

Bilbao, who reached their 40th Spanish Cup final, will try to end a 40-year drought in Seville on April 6, when they face Mallorca who beat Real Sociedad 5-4 on penalties on Tuesday.

Ernesto Valverde’s Bilbao side punished the visitors with clinical counter-attacks, playing with the advantage of having won the first leg 1-0 in Madrid.

Needing a goal to stay alive and missing French striker Antoine Griezmann with an ankle injury, it was mission impossible for Atletico against opponents who hadn’t dropped a point at home since October.

Even the pouring rain couldn’t spoil Athletic’s showdown in Bilbao, where they were cheered on by a raucous San Mames stadium filled with 52,000 adoring fans, the largest attendance in the club’s history.

The home side dominated from the start against a subdued Atletico, with the jet-heeled Williams brothers a constant threat.

They scored in the 13th minute when Nico burst down the left wing before crossing for his brother Inaki who fired a superb volley into the top corner.

Bilbao attacked again in the 42nd minute and Inaki Williams set up Nico for a simple finish from close range.

“Our connection is real and it works very well, we understand each other,” Nico Williams told TVE.

“I’m delighted, it’s a dream to reach the final and to do it in front of our fans who have been fantastic as always. Athletic can do anything and I hope to win the final.”

Bilbao continued to dominate and Gorka Guruzeta secured a 10th consecutive home victory in all competitions for the Basque side after a 61st-minute rebound.

It was another disappointing result for Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid, who have won just one of their last seven competitive matches.

They are fourth in La Liga with 52 points, 13 behind leaders Real Madrid, and will be under pressure when they host Serie A leaders Inter Milan after losing the first leg of their League Round of 16 tie champions.

“The Champions League is a difficult, complicated competition that requires strength, but who knows…?” Simeone told TVE.


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