Real Sociedad clinch Copa del Rey 2020 title win over rivals Athletic Bilbao

1 month ago 5

Real Sociedad beat local rivals Athletic Bilbao 1-0 in the rescheduled 2020 Copa del Rey final on Saturday to get their hands on a major trophy for the first time since 1987.

Real Sociedad win 2020 Copa del Rey final. (Reuters Photo)

Real Sociedad win 2020 Copa del Rey final. (Reuters Photo)

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Real Sociedad ended a three-decade title drought on Saturday
  • Sociedad beat fierce Basque rival Athletic Bilbao 1-0 in final
  • Mikel Oyarzabal scored the only goal of the delayed final

Real Sociedad defeated local rivals, Athletic Bilbao, 1-0 to end a three-decade title drought on Saturday in the delayed 2020 Copa del Rey final held in Seville. Bilbao will have another shot in just two weeks when it plays Barcelona in the 2021 edition of the Copa del Rey final.

Mikel Oyarzabal scored the only goal of an intense, scrappy contest dominated by defense. The Spain striker drilled his penalty kick into the right corner in the 63rd minute after Iñigo Martínez fouled Portu Portugués in the box following a precise pass by Mikel Merino.

Martinez, a boyhood Sociedad player who left for their rivals for 32 million euros ($37.64 million) in a controversial transfer in 2018, was initially shown a red card for the foul but the referee downgraded the punishment to a yellow card after a VAR review.

Sociedad dominated possession and Athletic failed to test their opponents on the counter-attack, still offering little in attack even as they chased the game deep into the second half.

The match was postponed by a year at the request of both clubs to ensure fans could attend, meaning Athletic surrendered a potential Europa League berth.

But continued coronavirus restrictions in Spain meant the showpiece in Seville's La Cartuja stadium took place without any supporters.

Athletic have now lost their last five Copa finals but have another shot at the trophy when they play Barcelona in this season's showpiece back at La Cartuja on April 17.

“It's a beautiful day on which so many things come to your mind. Giving this victory to our fans was the best thing we could do,” said match-winner Oyarzabal.

“There are many people who would like to have been here and there are many friends and family who left us in the worst possible way. This is for everyone, we felt their presence. There's nothing like this feeling."

Athletic's Oscar de Marcos described the defeat as "a massive blow".

"It's very tough for us, this was a match we were so excited about and thought we could win," he said. "It's very painful whenever you lose a final, regardless of who you lose to. It's a very sad day for us."