The field of El Collao was flattened, back in 1921, by the soldiers of the Vizcaya Regiment, which would have some connection with the historic territory that is the fiefdom of Athletic. At least by name. Presumably, in those days of rudimentary technology the infantry soldiers had to sweat a lot with pick and shovel to finish the task entrusted by the superiority.
One hundred years later, other Biscayan people, some by birth, others by adoption, also sweated on the same ground, as Athletic’s rojiblancos have done on other occasions, not always with good fortune. Faced with Alcoyano who presented a similar profile to the one that provided him with such success against Real Madrid, the Bilbaoans fulfilled their role as favorites and will be in the draw for the quarterfinals of the Cup.
Not without anxiety, because in a repeat of the previous tie against Ibiza, Athletic wasted 45 minutes and had to go back over the scoreboard to impose its law. Marcelino returned to bet on what is now called the second unit, which for years were rotations and that from the times when the Vizcaya Regiment built El Collao until football began to appear a lot on television they were known as substitutes.
And the members of team B were not right, when it came to sinking their teeth into Alcoyano, who had already crashed a shot off the post before the first minute was up. Athletic being disorderly, the midfielders disoriented, and with the defense at a loss, the Alicante team cheered up looking for another surprise in the Cup.
He dreamed of it for a few minutes, especially when he took the lead on a Carbonell free-kick that brushed against Vesga and misled Ezkieta enough. There was little left for the break, and Marcelino made the same decision as in Ibiza when his players returned from the dressing room: he put Raúl García and Muniain on the grass. Hierarchy over the field. It was noticed right away. Alcoyano lost steam, Athletic pushed much more and, in the 52nd minute, Villalibre equalized the score in a Lekue header to center.
Shortly after, Iñaki Williams entered and Athletic already had all the heavy artillery on the pitch. The local team retreated to order back and no longer came out with the joy of the first half. The people from Bilbao came a lot. In 1980, Muniain again showed that he is maintaining a long idyll with the ball stopped. Another time he hung a ball from the shuttlecock area for Williams to get ahead of the center-backs and beat José Juan, who a couple of minutes later made the night’s stop in another shot by the rojiblanco striker.
Alcoyano, exhausted, was left without the ability to reply and did not enjoy any opportunity to scare Athletic as it did against Madrid. He remains out of the Cup after a very worthy career. Those of Marcelino, at the expense of the draw, are already thinking of approaching their second cup final in April.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.