Athletic Bilbao Ends 40-Year Wait to Win Copa del Rey in Dramatic Fashion

Athletic Bilbao clinched the Copa del Rey title after a nail-biting penalty shootout victory against Real Mallorca, marking their first triumph in the competition in four decades.
The Basque side secured their 24th Copa del Rey trophy in a hard-fought encounter at La Cartuja stadium in Seville, prevailing 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw after extra time.
The thrilling final saw Dani Rodriguez giving Mallorca the lead in the first half, only for Oihan Sancet to equalize for Athletic soon after the break.
Despite numerous chances for both teams, including a disallowed goal by Athletic’s Nico Williams, the deadlock persisted until the end of extra time, necessitating a penalty shootout to determine the winner.
Athletic goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala emerged as the hero, saving Manu Morlanes’ penalty and watching Nemanja Radonjic miss his spot-kick for Mallorca.
In contrast, Athletic converted all four of their penalties, with Alex Berenguer calmly slotting home the winning kick to spark jubilant celebrations among the traveling Basque supporters.
For Athletic Bilbao, the victory marked the end of a long spell of near misses in the Copa del Rey, having lost in their previous six appearances in the final.
Managed by Ernesto Valverde, the team’s triumphant journey to the title included notable victories over Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in earlier rounds.
In contrast, Mallorca, winners of the Copa del Rey in 2003, fell short in their bid to secure a second title. Despite a strong start and taking the lead through Dani Rodriguez’s well-placed finish, they were unable to withstand Athletic’s relentless pressure and ultimately succumbed in the penalty shootout.
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