Valverde delighted to escape Alzira with Athletic Bilbao Copa win

Goals from Alex Berenguer and Nico Williams made the difference as Athletic Bilbao won 2-0 at Copa del Rey opponents at UD Alzira.

From the start it was evident Los Rojiblancos were taking the clash seriously. Asier Villalibre forced a fine save from Lluis Andreu with a powerful close-range shot early on and it was the Buffalo who played in Alex Berenguer for the Lions first of the night, the no.7 slotting the ball under Andreu in a one-v-one.

Athletic looked to have the game sealed when Berenguer assisted Nico Williams for Los Leones’ second on the stroke of half-time.

The Lions had opportunities to extend their lead at the start of the second half. First Villalibre failed to beat the home goalkeeper and then Yuri Berchiche could have scored the third when his shot was blocked by Alzira defender Solbes.

The home side found some momentum after the hour-mark, threatening Athletic keeper Julen Agirrezabala on a few occasions.

Iñaki Williams had a couple of chances to put the game to bed, but couldn’t get the better of Andreu either time. In the end a job well done against spirited hosts and now Los Leones will discover their next Copa opponents on Wednesday.

Afterwards, coach Ernesto Valverde said of his goalkeeper: “He was very good, he saved us with an extraordinary save. The field was not very good, and that causes some problems, it was difficult because he had been in an inactive period.”

He also said: “There was a great atmosphere, in Alzira they are happy for their centenary, one more centenary club. We already know what hooks Athletic, it’s a guarantee and responsibility for us.

“These Copa ties are a lot of fun, except for the coach of the visiting team, everyone is aware of how many higher category teams fall!”