Osasuna beats Athletic 1-0 in 1st leg of Copa semifinals
MADRID (AP) — Osasuna showed its strength against one of the Copa del Rey powerhouses on Wednesday, defeating Athletic Bilbao 1-0 at home in the first leg of the semifinals.
Ez Abde scored the winner in the 47th minute with a low left-footed shot from inside the area after a breakaway.
“We knew that we had to pay attention to their counterattacks,” Athletic midfielder Dani García said. “In the end, that’s how they hurt us. We wanted to earn an advantage here, but it’s not that bad of a result. We have to look at it positively."
Athletic, the second-most successful club in the competition behind Barcelona, is making its fourth straight semifinal appearance in the Copa. The Basque Country club was runner-up both in 2020 and 2021, and lost to Valencia in last season’s semifinals.
Osasuna is in the last four for the first time since reaching the final in 2005, when it lost to Real Betis.
“It’s a small advantage but it gives us more confidence going into the second leg,” Osasuna midfielder Jon Moncayola said. “We know that the game there will be completely different, with the fans supporting them. Hopefully this advantage will be enough.”
Athletic was coming off two straight losses in the Spanish league, while Osasuna won at Sevilla on Sunday to snap a four-game winless streak.
Osasuna is in eighth place in the league, one point ahead of ninth-place Athletic after 23 rounds.
The second leg will be next month in Bilbao.
Real Madrid hosts Barcelona on Thursday in the first match of the other semifinal.
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The Associated Press