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Atletico Madrid logo
Copa del Rey | Semi-Finals | 1st Leg
Feb 7, 2024 at 8.30pm UK
Estadio Civitas Metropolitano
Athletic Bilbao logo

0 - 1
Athletic Bilbao

Mandava (23'), Simeone (24'), Simeone (65'), De Paul (83')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Berenguer (25' pen.)
Prados (37'), Vivian (45+2'), Gomez (71'), Ruiz de Galarreta (90+7')

Preview: Atletico Madrid vs. Athletic Bilbao - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Wednesday's Copa del Rey clash between Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

On Wednesday, Atletico Madrid will welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Civitas Metropolitano for the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

Atleti are unbeaten in six competitive games, while the visitors have avoided defeat in each of their previous three matches.

Match preview

Atletico Madrid's Marcos Llorente celebrates scoring against Real Madrid on February 4, 2024© Reuters

Atletico will head into Wednesday's cup clash off the back of Sunday's 1-1 draw against their local rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Diego Simeone's side appeared to be heading towards defeat following Brahim Diaz's first-half strike, but Marcos Llorente managed to rescue a point for his side when he headed home in the third minute of stoppage time.

They will now turn their attention to Wednesday's Copa del Rey fixture as they begin to dream about winning the competition for the 11th time in their history and the first time since lifting the trophy in the 2012-13 season.

Due to their participation in the Spanish Super Cup, Atleti have only had to negotiate two rounds to reach their first Copa del Rey semi-final in seven years, beating second-tier Lugo in the last 16, before eliminating current holders Real Madrid in the quarter-finals.

Atleti will be confident about making home advantage count in Wednesday's first leg, having avoided defeat in each of their last 28 competitive matches at the Metropolitano since losing 1-0 to Barcelona in a league fixture in January 2023.

The hosts are also unbeaten in their previous 14 home matches against Athletic (W12, D2), with their most recent home defeat to Los Leones taking place in January 2011 at Atletico's former stadium, the Vicente Calderon.

Athletic Bilbao's Gorka Guruzeta celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on January 24, 2024© Reuters

In contrast to their hosts, Athletic have had to beat five teams to book their place in the semi-final, including Rubi, Cayon, Eibar and Alaves.

Ernesto Valverde's side went on to beat record winners Barcelona in last month's quarter-finals, as they fought back from 2-1 down to claim a 4-2 victory after extra time.

The Basque side are sitting second in the list of record Copa del Rey winners, but they have not lifted the trophy since winning the competition for the 23rd time in 1984.

Since beating Barcelona in the final 40 years ago, Athletic have gone to finish runners-up on six occasions, including defeats in consecutive finals in the space of a month in 2021 after the 2020 showpiece event had been pushed back a year due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

After reaching the semi-finals in the last two seasons, Los Leones are now preparing to make their fifth consecutive appearance in the last four, and they will certainly head into the first leg in a confident mood following Friday's commanding 4-0 home win over Mallorca in La Liga.

While Athletic will face a tough test on Wednesday, they may be able to draw inspiration from the fact that they have already beaten Atletico this season, claiming a 2-0 victory when the two sides met at San Mames in December.

Atletico Madrid Copa del Rey form:

Atletico Madrid form (all competitions):

Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey form:

Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions):

Team News

Athletic Bilbao's Nico Williams celebrates scoring their second goal with Inaki Williams and Daniel Vivian on December 16, 2023© Reuters

Atletico are still unable to call upon defender Cesar Azpilicueta and midfielder Thomas Lemar due to knee and Achilles injuries respectively.

Jose Maria Gimenez is unlikely to feature after missing the last two matches with a muscle injury, but the centre-back is making good progress in his recovery process.

After dropping down to the bench at the weekend, Reinildo Mandava could be brought back into the side to operate in a back three alongside Mario Hermoso and Axel Witsel.

Simeone could also be tempted to make a number of other changes in a bid to freshen up his side, with the likes of Nahuel Molina, Pablo Barrios and Samuel Lino all in contention to start against Athletic.

As for the visitors, forward Nico Williams is a doubt after he was forced off in the second half of Friday's win over Mallorca due to a thigh problem.

Nico's older brother Inaki Williams also picked up a knock in the 4-0 victory, but the Ghana international is expected to be fit for the first leg.

Inigo Lekue and Alex Berenguer have taken part in training following their respective injury issues, and the pair are likely to be ready to feature in Wednesday's matchday squad.

Goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala is set to replace Unai Simon, having featured in each of Athletic's five cup matches this season.

Atletico Madrid possible starting lineup:
Oblak; Hermoso, Witsel, Reinildo; Molina, De Paul, Koke, Saul, Lino; Griezmann, Morata

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Agirrezabala; Lekue, Vivian, Paredes, Berchiche; Ruiz de Galaretta, Prados Diaz; I. Williams, Sancet, Ares; Guruzeta

SM words green background

We say: Atletico Madrid 2-1 Athletic Bilbao

Atletico have gone over a year without losing a competitive game at the Metropolitano, and having won 11 of their last 13 home matches against Athletic, we think that the hosts will do enough to claim a narrow victory in the first leg of the semi-final tie.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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