Athletic Bilbao vs Granada: Copa del Rey semi-final first leg preview 

Wednesday, February 12th, 2020 2:55pm

By Ali McDowall

Bilbao will be looking to make home advantage count tonight as they play hosts to La Liga rivals Granada.

An extraordinary week in the Copa Del Rey has thrown up an unexpected semi-final lineup. With the mouthwatering prospect of a Basque derby final on the cards, Granada are looking to spoil the party and stop Athletic Bilbao from getting there. 

This season’s competiton has been anything but predictable and even though a Bilbao vs Sociedad final is the most likely outcome, two shock results in the quarters suggest that anything could happen over the two legs of this semi-final. 

Gaizka Garitano's Bilbao stunned the 30-time winners Barcelona in the quarter-finals thanks to Inaki Williams' stoppage-time strike in a 1-0 win at San Mames.

Meanwhile ex-Tottenham striker Roberto Soldado struck deep into stoppage time to end Valencia's cup defence and keep Granada on course for a first Copa del Rey final since 1959.

Despite the remarkable victory over the Catalonians, Bilbao’s league form suggests that this could be a close encounter; a 2-1 loss against Real Sociedad at the weekend means Bilbao have now failed to win any of their last eight matches in La Liga. 

Grenada are in a similar situation having suffered eight losses away in the league this season and with Bilbao losing only twice at home in 2019, the visitors may aim to keep the score down in the first leg.

The last meeting between the two ended in a 2-0 win for the Basques courtesy of strikes from Yuri Berchiche and Raul Garcia, which is good news for the hosts who are aiming to reach their first final since 2015. 

The teams are currently separated in the league table by just a point and with both in such erratic form, all bets are off for tonight. 

Team News

Athletic Bilbao

Athletic have fewer selection worries coming into this one. 

Iker Muniain and Dani Garcia are suspended for one LaLiga match after each picking up five yellow cards this season, but the pair are free to play in the Copa as the suspension does not carry over.

Oscar De Marcos is the only long-term absentee for head coach Garitano, who has almost a full squad to choose from.

Granada

On the other hand, Granada are still missing the likes of Quini and Fede Vico to injury while they also have doubts over Angel Montoro and Alex Martinez. 

Coach Diego Martinez could also be without right-back Dimitri Foulquier due to a family problem.

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