A 42nd minute goal scored by Athletic Club Bilbao captain Iker Muniain gave his side a slender 1-0 advantage to take to Granada after the first leg of their Copa del Rey semifinal on Wednesday night.
Muniain was left with a tap-in after Inaki Williams outpaced the Granada defense before sending over a low ball for the attacking midfielder to side-foot into an empty net to give Athletic Club a win they deserved after dominating for almost the entire 90 minutes in packed San Mames Stadium.
Although Granada’s veteran striker Roberto Soldado had the first chance of the game with a backheel that went just wide of the post, Athletic took control of the game and totally dominated the first half with Granada keeper Rui Silva producing fine saves to deny Williams and Mikel Vesga, who stung his hands from around 30 yards.
Athletic enjoyed 80 percent of the ball but it was not until Williams caught Granada flat footed three minutes from the break that they got their goal.
The home side thought they had doubled their lead 10 minutes into the second half, but after a long consultation with the VAR, referee Hernandez Hernandez ruled out Ander Capa’s effort because Williams was offside and slightly obstructing Silva’s view.
Athletic kept on pegging away and their keeper Unai Simon didn’t have a save to make until the 81st minute when he did well to save a long shot from Carlos Neva and a header from German Sanchez from the resulting corner.
Granada will go home thinking they have done well to contain Athletic, while the home side will believe that despite maybe deserving a bigger win, keeping a clean sheet will give them an advantage in the return leg on March 5. Enditem