Athletic Bilbao vs Mirandes Preview February 7th

by Punter's Hero on February 7, 2012

in Football, Latest News

Athletic Bilbao takes on Mirandes at home on Feb. 7 at the Estadio San Mames in the second leg of their Copa del Rey cup tie leading 2-1 on aggregate. Bilbao won the first leg last week with an away win at the Estadio Municipal de Anduva. It looks like Bilbao already has their foot in the door to meet either Valencia or Barcelona in the Cup Final, but they still have to play a good game against the second division team to make it.

All they need to go through to the final though is a draw to have a chance at their first 24th Copa del Rey trophy. Bilbao, along with Barcelona and Real Madrid are one of three Spanish teams that have never been relegated from the Primera Division, meaning they’re quite consistent year after year. Barcelona has won the Copa del Rey 25 times with Real Madrid taking it on 18 occasions.

Mirandes aren’t pushovers since they’ve already knocked out first division clubs Villarreal, Espanyol, and Racing Santander on their way to the semi finals this season. Manager Carlos Pouso Mirandes knows his side will have a tough time in Bilbao against the likes of Ander Herrera, Iker Muniain, Óscar de Marcos, and Markel Susaeta. Bilbao manager Marcelo Bielsa also has Fernando Llorente up front to lead the attack. The striker is hot after scoring a hat trick on the weekend against Rayo Vallecano. They should also welcome back Javi Martinez to the line-up if he can pass a late physical.

Mirandes has never reached this far in the Copa del Rey. The furthest they have progressed in the past has been the last 16, which they reached back in 2004/05. However, they still have a chance to progress as Pablo Infante has scored seven goals in the competition so far this season, which is good for first overall. They’ll desperately need him to get on the scoreboard and add to that total though if they’re going to win this game and reach the final.

Even though Bilbao has won the Copa del Rey the second most times after Barcelona, they haven’t managed to lift it in victory for almost 30 years now, with their last win coming back in 1984 when they beat Barcelona. The last time they made it to the final was in 2008/09 when they were beaten 4-1 by Barcelona.

Bilbao has won three, lost one and drawn one in their past five games overall while Mirandes has two wins, two losses and a draw. Everything points to a Bilbao appearance in the final since they just need a draw to advance. However, they should do enough to win this game.

Sportsbook William Hill’s latest odds on then game have Bilbao favoured at 2/7 with a Mirandes win at 15/2 and a draw at 7/2.

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