Osasuna book Copa del Rey final place for second time in history


Osasuna booked a place in the Copa del Rey final on Tuesday night after Pablo Ibanez’s goal in the 115th minute gave them a 1-1 draw away to Athletic Bilbao and a 2-1 aggregate win, here.

Ibanez placed a volley into the corner of the net to put his side through after Osasuna was kept in the tie by a string of fine saves from keeper Sergio Herrera.

Herrera made five or six vital saves as Athletic attacked, but once again paid for their inability to find the net.

The home side started looking to get quickly back on level terms in the tie, with Gorka Guruzeta seeing his effort well smothered by Osasuna keeper Sergio Herrera in the seventh minute, a Xinhua report said.

The game was as intense as you would expect in the return leg of a semifinal between the local rivals and Athletic midfielder Mikel Vesga was the first player booked after a challenge from behind.

Oihan Sancet, looking to celebrate his new contract with Athletic, got into good positions on the edge of the Osasuna area on a couple of occasions, but nobody was able to get onto his pullbacks.

Nico Williams fired wide as Athletic continued to press and Herrera did well to parry Oscar de Marcos’ diving header after a good cross from the young winger. The save was to no avail, however, as Athletic leveled the tie from the resulting corner as Vesga got a flick and Inaki Williams scored from close range.

At the other end, Kike Garcia had a good chance to level for Osasuna, but Julen Agirrezabala blocked his shot and Yuri cleared as Ruben Garcia hurled himself at the loose ball.

Athletic had chances to win the game in the second half, but Nico Williams twice fired over when he should have at least hit the target, with his second miss coming after Herrera had done well to save from Raul Garcia.

Herrera also produced a block to deny Inigo Martinez at the far post as the game went into extra time. He then denied Vesga from a corner in extra time, allowing Ibanez his moment of glory as Osasuna returned to a cup final for the first time since 2005.

Wednesday’s second semifinal sees FC Barcelona defend a 1-0 first-leg lead at home to Real Madrid.


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