CUP CRASH: FIFTH ROUND (COPA DEL REY)
Athletic Bilbao have been sent tumbling out of the Copa Del Rey after two disappointing, and some may say borderline embarrassing defeats against rivals Real Sociedad. Bilbao, who are much higher in the league table than their opponents, were favourites to go through. However they never looked liked doing so in either of the two legs, only hitting the net once and conceding five.
REAL SOCIEDAD 3-0 ATHLETIC
Athletic lined up at Anoeta for the second time in two months as the they prepared their push towards the next round of the Copa Del Rey. Last time they visited San Sebastian they managed to grab a comfortable 2-0 victory, but this time it was to be a very different game. From the start it was clear to see that Sociedad were out for revenge when veteran midfielder Xabi Prieto almost got them off to a flyer as he came close with a well hit shot from just inside the box, however Kepa Arizzabalaga managed to just about scramble it away. Sociedad were on top throughout the first-half and it was incredible that Athletic managed to hold on until half-time. In the second-half the home team came at Bilbao as they did in the first and it wasn't long until they were in the lead. Number 9, Imanol Agirretxe, fired home a powerful header after he was left completely unmarked at a corner. It is fair to say that Athletic's defence weren't at their best this game as another chance came Sociedad's way as Agirretxe was again unmarked at a corner, but this time his header zoomed past the post. Soon after, however, Sociedad doubled their lead as Xabi Prieto found himself in plenty of space as defenders stood off him. He unleashed a long-shot which looped into the air and curled into the far corner leaving Kepa with no chance of stopping it. The scoring was completely, as it was started, with an Agirretxe header. This time he was marked, however it was by Carlos Gurpegi who barely jumped to head the ball away. All Agirretxe had to do was lean over and knock it in with his head. Poor defending all round by Bilbao cost them big time and it would have took a big win back at home to get them through.
ATHLETIC 1-2 REAL SOCIEDAD
A big win was what Athletic needed, however they could not even muster up a small win. Despite coming out strong in the first-half, Flores' men couldn't capitalise and the closest they came was when Muniain was brought down just outside the box. The resulting free-kick was curled around the wall by Benat, however the ball just couldn't curl enough and it slammed into the side-netting. Sociedad were lucky to not have conceded during the first-half, contrast to the first leg, however they were far superior in the second. Xabi Prieto bagged their first on the hour mark as a header from a corner was initially saved by Arizzabalaga, however it was palmed straight into the path of Prieto who knocked it out of the reach of the young keeper and into the back of the net. Soon the 31 year-old had two to his name, a beautiful passing move by Sociedad found it's way to Prieto inside the box and he passed it round Kepa and into the net to seal the game and the round. Oscar De Marcos managed to weave his way into the opposition area before being tugged down to grab his team a late penalty. Andoni Iraola stepped up and slotted the ball into the top left to give Athletic a consolition goal, but Ander Itturaspe managed to complete what had been an awful round for Bilbao as a push and then a two-footed tackle on David Zurutuza earned him a straight red. After the game Quique Flores apologised to the fans for his sides 'Disgraceful' performances and said that the Itturaspe sending off was 'Idiotic' and that he and the club would be dealing with it severely.