Athletic Bilbao into Spanish Super Cup final with comeback win over Atlético
- Nico Williams’ late winner sets up final against Real Madrid
- Coppa Italia: Fiorentina beat Napoli in game with three reds
Nico Williams struck late in the second half to give Athletic Bilbao a 2-1 comeback win over Atlético Madrid as the Spanish Super Cup holders set up a final against Real Madrid on Sunday.
After a slow-paced first period in Riyadh’s half-empty King Fahd stadium, the game came to life when Atlético went ahead just past the hour. Thomas Lemar’s corner was met by the head of João Félix, whose effort struck the post only for the ball to hit the back of Athletic keeper Unai Simón and cross the line, going down as an own goal.
Athletic Bilbao equalised with another header from a corner as centre-back Yeray Álvarez found the net from close range in the 77th minute. They then piled the pressure on Atlético, whose goalkeeper Jan Oblak made three glorious saves in quick succession – but he could do nothing about the winner.
Williams, younger brother of teammate Iñaki, fired a low shot from a rebound on the edge of the area, which went in off the post in the 81st minute to secure the victory. Atlético defender José María Giménez was sent off in stoppage time for a dangerous high boot on Iñigo Martínez.
“It’s a source of pride for us to have to defend our title against these three great teams,” said the Athletic head coach, Marcelino, who also tweeted: “We cannot be more proud. Now it’s time to rest and prepare to be at our best on Sunday.”
“We have to improve a lot,” Oblak said afterwards. “Words won’t change anything – we have to talk on the pitch.” Atlético manager Diego Simeone called on his team to “rediscover our aggression” after another disappointing night for his side, who have won just one of their last six league games.
In the Coppa Italia, Fiorentina booked their quarter-final place with a dramatic win over Napoli, who equalised in the 95th minute only to capitulate in extra time, in a game that saw three players sent off.
In-demand striker Dusan Vlahovic fired the visitors in front soon before half-time but Dries Mertens curled in an equaliser for Napoli moments later. Fiorentina goalkeeper Bartomiej Dragowski was then shown a straight red card after fouling Eljif Elmas outside the penalty area, but Cristiano Biraghi’s curled effort put the 10 men ahead in the 57th minute.
Napoli winger Hirving Lozano was shown a straight red card six minutes from time for a foul on Nicolás González, and the hosts’ hopes appeared over when midfielder Fabián Ruiz was shown a second yellow card, leaving them with nine men – but moments later, Andrea Petagna swept home a cross to force extra time.
Vincenzo Italiano’s side made the extra man count, however, with Lorenzo Venuti scoring and setting up another for debutant Krzysztof Piatek, who has joined on loan from Hertha Berlin. Youssef Maleh got a late fifth for Fiorentina, who will face Atalanta in the quarter-finals.