Sestao River vs Athletic Club predictions and match preview for Tuesday’s Copa del Rey fixture. Read on for analysis ahead of this derby clash in the province of Bizkaia.
|Date||Tuesday 20th December 2022|
|Kick-Off||21:00 (local time)|
|Competition||Copa del Rey|
Sestao River vs Athletic Club Preview
There’s a Basque derby on Tuesday night as the Copa del Rey returns with the 2nd Round following the conclusion of the World Cup. Sestao’s Las Llanas stadium is less than 10 km from San Mames in the Bilbao metropolitan area so this will be a special occasion for everyone connected with the fourth tier club.
It’s also a repeat of a 2nd Round tie from 2019/20, the last time Sestao were in the Copa del Rey. 7,200 packed into Las Llanas on that occasion to witness a 4-0 Athletic win with Yuri and Asier Villalibre both bagging braces. It was a good omen for Athletic who went on to reach the ultimately delayed Final while Sestao fans and players alike would have enjoyed the chance to test themselves against their illustrious neighbours.
They’ll be huge underdogs again on Tuesday but they did pull off a minor upset in the last round, beating 3rd tier Racing Ferrol at home. Sestao River are having an excellent season overall too and currently lead their section of the Segunda Federación by six points having won 10 of their 15 league games, losing just once. Top spot would guarantee them promotion to the third tier, as well as another crack at the Copa del Rey next season.
Sestao will be hoping Athletic’s absence of competitive football over the past six weeks will also aid their chances. However Ernesto Valverde’s return has sparked plenty of life into this Athletic team who are enjoying a good season and currently sit in 4th place in LaLiga. With no European commitments, they’ve no reason not to target the Copa though and will be determined to progress here.
While Unai Simon and the Williams brothers were involved in the World Cup, it has been a quiet time for most of Athletic’s squad. They have played four friendlies in December though, winning the lot to nil with Real Valladolid and Udinese among their opponents. This will be their first competitive outing since a relatively unconvincing 2-0 win at minnows Alzira in Round 1.
Score Prediction: Sestao River 0-2 Athletic Club
This may be closer than the last meeting between the clubs three years ago but the gulf in quality should still be decisive. Athletic are likely to name a relatively strong side as they look to build up match sharpness again ahead of the return of LaLiga next week and they should get the job done.
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