Pamplona (EFE).- Osasuna’s coach, Jagoba Arrasate, has been optimistic about the “extremely tough” cup match against Athletic Bilbao in the semifinals, in which the rojillos will assert their desire to “play in the final” of the King’s Cup in La Cartuja.
“I think it’s a beautiful tie. A derby, in the Cup semifinals. We are very excited and we know that they are very used to this type of match, ”said the coach of the Pamplona team after meeting his rival.
Arrasate has been excited and has noted that his team will fight “to the death” to be on May 6 in La Cartuja. “I expect the same environment. We know that we are going to play at home with a packed Sadar and we have to assert that great atmosphere, ”he said regarding the first game that will be played in his stadium.
Arrasate has played down the importance of closing the semifinals in Bilbao: “Today, playing first at home can be decisive, or not. Athletic happened in Valencia and we against Betis too”.
“It is a cup club. It has many titles, it is there every year and this will not be an exception. In the league we play in San Mamés and we suffer a lot, but I understand that we have our options and that we are going to make the most of them with our people”, he acknowledged about Athletic’s potential.
The background favors Athletic
The Biscayan team has taken the measure to Osasuna in recent times. Two draws and two victories is the baggage of the last four clashes, with seven goals for rojiblancos and three rojillos. As positive data for Navarrese interests, those from Arrasate won two consecutive games before that.
In the 19/20 campaign, Oier’s solitary goal at San Mamés upset an even match. Eight months later, in the centenary season, Osasuna knocked out the lions 1-0 thanks to a penalty converted by Rubén García.
The two have met so far in three cup qualifiers, all of which have been resolved in favor of the rojiblanco team.
The first cross between Biscayans and Navarrese was in the quarterfinals of the 1955-1956 season. The team then led by Fernando Daucik put the match back on track by winning the first leg played in San Mames 4-1 and went on to the semifinals after drawing 2-2 in San Juan.
The now-defunct Pamplona field was also the scene of the first leg clash of the first round of the 1960-1961 campaign. Osasuna won 1-0 at home with a goal from Fusté, but Athletic came from behind in San Mamés with a 2-0 lead by Zorriketa and Iturriaga.
The last cup tie between Athletic and Osasuna was in the round of 16 of 2008-2009. After the draw recorded at El Sadar with goals from Walter Pandiani and Fernando Llorente, the Bilbao team sealed the pass at ‘La Catedral’ with a 2-0 score by Igor Gabilondo and Ion Vélez.
“Nobody beats us to illusion”
Braulio Vázquez, sports director of Osasuna, pointed out this Monday that “dreaming cannot set limits” and has assured, after learning that Athletic Club de Bilbao will be their rival in the semifinals of the Copa del Rey, that they are more excited than the three other teams still remaining in the competition together.
«Everyone loved us but no one beats us with illusion. Dreaming you can not set limits so you have to enjoy the road to where it takes us. Obviously due to history we are not at that level but we are more excited than the three of us together”, said Braulio, satisfied to be able to play the first leg at El Sadar.
Osasuna striker Kike García has expressed himself along the same lines: «We are very excited to reach these semifinals and happy for all the competition we have. It is being very nice and we are looking forward to facing this tie ».
“We are going to try to contribute and compete. We are a tough rival to beat and we go with that illusion. We are very excited, expectant, and waiting for that day to come to play against Athletic », he has concluded.