Valencia vs Athletic Club predictions and match preview for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey Semi-Final 2nd Leg. Read on for expert analysis, the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as Los Che and Athletic face off for a place in the Final.
|Date||Wednesday 2nd March 2022|
|Kick-Off||21:30 (local time)|
|Competition||Copa del Rey|
Valencia vs Athletic Club Preview
It’s Copa del Rey Semi-Final 2nd Leg week in Spain and this promises to be a really competitive clash between Valencia and Athletic Club. The sides drew 1-1 in Bilbao three weeks ago, meaning this couldn’t really be any more finely poised and it’s very tough to predict just who will go through to the final in Seville.
Both clubs have recent cup semi-final and final experience but there aren’t that many surviving members of the Valencia team that won the trophy in 2019. Evenso, Pepe Bordalas has done a good job of putting a competitive side together and a 1-0 win at Mallorca at the weekend, moved them into 9th place in LaLiga, just one place below their opponents here.
However any potential path into Europe is still likely to rely on their ability to win this competition. Their chances were boosted by Hugo Duro’s vital leveller in the 1st Leg, not to mention the return to fitness of Gabriel Paulista just in time for this game. Valencia’s recent league form has been very poor but the centre-back instantly improved things at the back and even scored the only goal as Los Che got back to winning ways in the Balearic Islands, a welcome boost heading into this tie.
Athletic may feel as though their best chance to gain a clear advantage in this tie has passed having only drawn the home 1st Leg. However they shouldn’t be written off at all. Aside from visits to the Bernabeu and Camp Nou, where they lost heavily at the weekend, they’ve only lost one away league game this term. They also managed to win a Semi-Final 2nd Leg in Valencia last season, seeing off Levante having also been held to a 1-1 draw in the 1st Leg at San Mames.
We probably shouldn’t read too much into Athletic’s 4-0 loss on Sunday against an impressive Barcelona side. Marcelino opted to prioritise this game by resting a host of key players at Camp Nou with the likes of Inigo Martinez, Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain all left on the bench. It’s likely to be a very different XI that takes to the field here and we could be in for a long night.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 1 Valencia Win, 1 Athletic Win, 4 Draws.
- The last 4 meetings have all been drawn.
- That includes two 1-1 draws this season, including the 1st Leg of this tie in Bilbao.
- Athletic are unbeaten on their last 3 visits to Mestalla.
Valencia are still missing keeper Jasper Cillessen to injury but have their other key men fit with Gabriel Paulista returning at the weekend.
Athletic rotated heavily in Barcelona and should return to something close to their strongest XI with few injury concerns either.
Valencia vs Athletic Club Predictions
Score Prediction: Valencia 1-1 Athletic Club (Athletic to Win on Penalties)
This is a really tough one to call and it’d be no surprise if it went all the way to penalties with no away goals rule this season. Valencia will have the advantage of a noisy home crowd which could make a difference but Athletic should be fresh after all those weekend changes and ready to scrap for 120 minutes if necessary. Should it go to penalties, it’s always something of a lottery but Athletic have Spain’s number one and some experienced heads in their ranks which may just give them the edge.
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