An impressive last-minute goal from substitute Alex Berenguer gave Athletic Bilbao a surprising 1-0 victory over Real Madrid, eliminating them from the Copa del Rey in the quarter-finals on Thursday. Athletic, who eliminated Barcelona in the previous round, ended a run of three consecutive defeats to Real in all competitions in the last two months thanks to Berenguer’s last-gasp goal.
The home team dominated the game from the start and put pressure on Real until they finally opened the scoring in the 89th minute, with a shot from Berenguer into the right corner of the net. Athletic joined Valencia, Rayo Vallecano and Real Betis in the semi-finals. The draw will take place on Friday and the semifinals will be played over two legs.
Real Madrid were clearly hampered by the absence of Karim Benzema, who is still recovering from a muscle injury in his leg, and a below-par performance from Vinicius Jr. on the week.
Rodrygo had been similarly included just days after playing in South America. “We had the game under control and we could have had a chance to win in extra time, but they managed to score late and they deserved the victory,” said coach Carlo Ancelotti. reporters
Asked why he chose to play Vinicius and Rodrygo instead of Gareth Bale and Eden Hazard, who fell out of favor with the coach and stayed in Madrid, Ancelotti said: “Other players didn’t play either. Why don’t you ask about them too?” I am not punishing anyone. Everyone has to compete to play.”