Athletic Club vs Valencia predictions and match preview for Thursday’s Copa del Rey Semi-Final 1st Leg. Read on for analysis as Marcelino and Jose Bordalas renew their hostilities in what has the potential to be a physical and fiery last four clash.
|Date||Thursday 10th February 2022|
|Kick-Off||21:30 (local time)|
|Competition||Copa del Rey|
Athletic Club vs Valencia Preview
The second Copa del Rey Semi-Final comes from Bilbao this week as Athletic host Valencia on Thursday. The visitors won this competition as recently as 2019 while Athletic were beaten Finalists in 2020 and 2021. Former Valencia boss Marcelino was involved in all of those Finals and is hoping to make it four in a row here by steering the Basque giants through against his former employers.
It’s tough to pick a favourite in this tie. Athletic are perhaps the stronger side on paper and hold a four point advantage on their opponents in LaLiga. However a Second Leg at Mestalla may give Valencia the edge in four weeks time and Athletic will want to make home advantage count on what will be another noisy night at San Mames.
Athletic would be forgiven for thinking that they’ve already done the hard graft in this year’s Copa del Rey. The previous two rounds have seen them knock out Barcelona and Real Madrid and they were good value for those victories with Alex Berenguer’s late strike seeing off Los Blancos last week. They were back at San Mames again on Monday night, beating Espanyol 2-1 in LaLiga, an excellent result in the circumstances with key men such as Iker Muniain and Inaki Williams rested from the start, although both did feature in the latter stages.
By contrast, Valencia have been afforded a considerably kinder time of it in the Copa del Rey draws until this point. They’ve only had to play one top flight team to reach this stage, and that was a home game against struggling Cadiz in the Quarter-Finals last week. Hugo Duro’s 79th minute strike sealed a 2-1 win and we now get another showdown between José Bordalás and Marcelino, who contested a bitter and at times deeply personal Valencia-Getafe cup quarter-final three years ago.
That’s just one of many subplots here which makes this a fascinating tie. Valencia will certainly be the underdogs on Thursday night but they’ve shown at times they can dig deep and grind out results this season and this could be a physical clash from the off. They come into this game on the back of a 0-0 draw against Real Sociedad at the weekend in LaLiga and we’re likely to see the visitors drop deep and play with five across the back again here which will make it difficult for the likes of Iker Muniain to pick holes in this defence.
Athletic Club vs Valencia Predictions
Score Prediction: Athletic Club 1-0 Valencia
Of the two Semi-Finals, this feels like it will be much less open and Valencia will come with the intention of frustrating Athletic and trying to grind out a draw to take back to Mestalla. Athletic are on a bit of a roll at home though and they should have enough to find a breakthrough at some point on the night.
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