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Immediate Reaction: Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Real Madrid

Madrid go out in the quarters...

Athletic de Bilbao v Real Madrid - Spanish Copa del Rey Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Real Madrid. Here is the immediate reaction to the cup defeat. Up next: press conference details, player ratings and the ManagingMadrid podcast.


After recent SuperCup success and with the club still sitting at the top of La Liga - victory over Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey quarter finals would send Los Blancos on their way to a domestic treble. Rumours had it that both Eden Hazard and Gareth Bale might get the nod for this one, but those were quickly quashed when Rodyrgo Goes, Casemiro and Vinícius Júnior took a late flight home from Brazil just in time. All three were listed in the line-up, with Luka Jović left on the bench in favour of no recognised striker in Karim Benzema’s absence. Dani Carvajal did return on the bench, but Lucas Vázquez was still preferred ahead of him for now. Nacho Fernández captained the side today after being called in at left-back in place of the injured Ferland Mendy.

San Mamés is often a horrid place to visit, and the atmosphere before the game after an incident with the team bus served as an early demonstration of how hostile the crowd would be. It is rarely an easy game for more reasons than one, and the home side really brought the game to Madrid over the course of the first half. They looked far more comfortable in their surroundings and created a large number of chances. Without fine interventions by Éder Militão and Lucas Vázquez then Bilbao would have had a healthy lead come half-time. Madrid produced the odd half chance, but looked no way near as clinical without the presence of Benzema up-front. Iker Muniain could have had a hat full on another day, but could not aim any of his efforts the correct side of the posts. On the whole, the Madrid defence stood tall and Madrid maintained a healthy amount of possession. Unless things changed during half-time however, it looked unlikely that they’d be able to hold out Bilbao for much longer...

Bilbao somehow managed to turn up the heat even further coming back out for the second half. Muniain glanced a header just wide minutes in, before a potential shout of handball against Madrid was correctly ruled out thanks to VAR. Militão was once again heavily involved with the added task of keeping Iñaki Williams at bay. Casemiro had the best chance of the game for Madrid when he made a smart run and was skilfully found by Marco Asensio - but the Brazilian could only hit the keeper. Isco couldn’t do much better from the rebound, forcing another save. Madrid were just creeping into the game towards the end when Bilbao landed the final blow. A classy touch and finish from Alejandro Berenguer was enough to squeeze out the win late on. Not to be for Madrid, but well deserved from Athletic Bilbao. Catch the post game podcast for a full dissection of the loss...