Athletic Bilbao ended tiny
Mirandes's remarkable run with a ruthless 6-2 win in their
King's Cup semi-final second leg on Tuesday to set up a final
with either Barcelona or Valencia.
Iker Muniain, Markel Susaeta and Jon Aurtenetxe scored
inside the opening 22 minutes at San Mames, quickly
extinguishing any chance of another giant-killing feat from
their plucky visitors.
Fernando Llorente scored twice in four second-half minutes,
after Mirandes had pulled one back through defender Aitor
Blanco, who also grabbed their second near the end.
Cesar Caneda put the ball in his own net two minutes from
time as Bilbao, who have won the cup 23 times, progressed 8-3 on
Marcelo Bielsa's side will find out their final opponents on
Wednesday, when Valencia visit the Nou Camp to play Barca with
the tie level at 1-1.
"It's incredible to be in another final after only a few
years, we are delighted," Llorente told Spanish television.
"We knew we couldn't afford to relax at all, and the few
times we did, they scored.
"I don't care who we meet in the final as long as we win. I
had a bad experience with Barca, but we'll give it our best
whoever it is." Bilbao lost 4-1 to Barca in the 2009 cup final.
Mirandes, who play in Spain's Segunda B, knocked out
top-flight sides Villarreal, Racing Santander and Espanyol to
reach the last four, and were the second team only from the
third tier to do so in the competition's current format.
Bilbao never gave the visitors time to settle, however, and
a failure to clear a cross in the 11th minute allowed Muniain to
burst through the middle and fire in the opener.
Mirandes were still reeling three minutes later when the
hosts strung together a series of passes that pulled the defence
apart and Susaeta turned to slot away the second.
Aurtenetxe looped in a header to make it 3-0 and Mirandes
did not manage to test Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz until the
35th minute when Pablo Infante drilled a shot straight at him.
Mirandes showed some of the courage and talent that have
made them headline news in Spain after the break, and were
rewarded in the 58th when a rebound from a shot against the post
was turned in by Blanco.
They flashed another effort wide of the post before in-form
Spain striker Llorente lobbed the visiting keeper from outside
the area in the 71st. He then slid in at the far post to notch
his eighth goal from the last four matches.
Both sets of fans cheered their teams in the closing stages
and Mirandes even hit the post before the referee blew the final
"It's been an unforgettable experience. Something we'll
remember for the rest of our lives," Mirandes captain Pablo
"Now we need to focus on winning our league and
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