Just as Pablo Machín had warned, Athletic were a different beast to Thursday and beat a Sevilla who could not get started in the San Mamés. Two goals from Iñaki Williams sealed the game for Garitano's men
A tough defeat for Sevilla FC in the San Mamés, where it was seen that it is very difficult to come out on top of the same opponent two times in a row. Against an Athletic who knew that their real final was today, the intensity of Garitano's men proved decisive in a stadium where Sevilla have failed to pick up points in the past six seasons. A double from Iñaki Williams defeated Machín's men who had not lost in La Liga since their trip to the Camp Nou.
It became evident soon on that, just as Machín had warned, the game would be very different to Thursday's. Whereas in the cup Sevilla already had two big chances in the first five minutes, the second resulting in a goal, they found it much more difficult to threaten Herrerín's goal on Sunday. Navas did have a shot from range in the second minute, but Athletic did not take long in imposing their physical game on Sevilla, preventing Sevilla from playing their passing game. By this stage Garitano's men were not on top either, but they were managing to make life difficult for Kjaer after a series of dangerous corners.
A counter-attack from Iñaki Williams made the difference and pushed Athletic on
The referee's continual blowing for fouls made it difficult for Sevilla to play their game and a counter-attack by Athletic complicated everything. A rapid transition down the left got the ball to Williams who, after not scoring at the San Mamés for two years, dribbled past Kjaer and beat Vaclík with a strong, impossible to save shot. Machín's team did respond after this blow, but they still could not find the right connections between the forwards to get the goal. Sarabia had the best chance after Ben Yedder's lay-off, however Herrerín blocked it and André Silva committed a foul when challenging for the rebound.
It was a tough first half for Sevilla who saw Beñat cause danger with a shot from distance just before the break. Unfortunately, the course of the game did not change in the second half and Athletic continued to restrict Sevilla. Athletic began to drop back as the game went on, looking for the final counter-attack to finish the game. Sevilla were still unable to find the right connections between the forwards and looked to the bench to change the game - the first change coming as Quincy Promes replaced Escudero half way through the second half.
Athletic imposed their intense, physical game on Sevilla who struggled to cause danger in attack
The Nervionenses managed to cause some danger through brawn rather than brain, and Machín decided to bring on Munir to change things, coming on for the booked Roque Mesa. The game went on, and four minutes from the end the final hammer blow game, as Williams raced from the half way line to round Vaclík and kill the game off.
Sevilla's run of not experiencing a league defeat since their trip to the Camp Nou therefore comes to an end. After four days training in Bilbao, it is now Bilbao's turn to come to Nervión for the second-leg of the cup on Wednesday to decide who will go through the quarter-finals. After that comes our trip to none other than the Bernabéu, a match which Roque Mesa will banned for but for which Franco Vázquez and Carriço return.
2. ATHLETIC CLUB: Herrerín, Capa, Yeray, Íñigo, Yuri, Dani García, Beñat (San José, 65'), Muniain, De Marcos (Ibai Gómez, 65'), Córdoba (Balenziaga, 86') and Iñaki Williams.
0. SEVILLA FC: Vaclík; Gnagnon, Kjaer (Bryan, 87'), Sergi Gómez, Jesús Navas, Roque Mesa (Munir, 79'), Escudero (Promes, 70'), Banega, Sarabia, André Silva and Ben Yedder.
GOALS: 1-0, 23': Iñaki Williams; 2-0, 84': Iñaki Williams.
REFEREE: Pablo González Fuertes. Yellows for Roque Mesa, Escudero, Gnagnon, Dani García, Muniain, Herrerín and Íñigo Martínez.