Our prediction for this Copa del Rey match:
Athletic Club and Valencia take on each other at Estadio San Mames in a highly-anticipated Copa del Rey semi-final. The Lions did well to beat Real Madrid in the quarter-finals, but they do not want to stop now. Both Vencedor and Nico Williams are sidelined with injuries for the home side, but there are no suspended players for the first leg.
As always, a man to watch in the home team will be Inaki Williams, who is likely to prove a handful for the opposition back-line. Los Che, on the other hand, made it to the Spanish Cup semis thanks to a 2-1 win over Cadiz. Valencia, though, often struggle on the travels, which is probably the main reason why we are tempted to put our money on Athletic Club. The likes of Gabriel Paulista, Cillessen, and Alderete should miss out with injuries for the away side.
Highlighted Player (Iker Muniain):
Iker Muniain was once considered one of the most talented players in Spain, but he obviously failed to reach his full potential. Munian is an attacking midfielder, who is capable of playing as a forward as well and he began his youth career at Chantrea. In 2005 he made probably the best decision of his career as he joined Athletic Bilbao youth academy.
He made his debut for Athletic Bilbao on 30 July, 2009 in a 1-0 loss to Young Boys in the Europa League. Iker Munian impressed in the 2011/2012 La Liga campaign with the Lions, scoring nine goals in all competitions, but he failed to make a bigger progress. The Athletic Bilbao product has been struggling with injuries and it has to be noted that the injury he suffered against Sevilla on 4 April, 2015 could have ruined his career.
However, he returned to action on 20 December, but he was playing below expectations in the second half of the season. Iker Munian made his Spain debut on 29 February, 2012 in a friendly against Venezuela. La Roja won the match 5-0 and Munian came as a substitute in the 74th minute of the match.
Highlighted Team (Valencia):
Founded on March 18, 1919, Valencia FC are a Spanish football club that compete in La Liga. Los Che play their home games at Estadio de Mestalla, the stadium which was opened back in May, 1923. The capacity of the venue is 50,000. Seeing that bats are quite common in Valencia, it is no surprise they are nicknamed the Bats.
Valencia made it to the Champions League final on two occasions (2000, 2001), but they were beaten in the title games by Real Madrid and Bayern Munchen respectively. The Spanish club, though, did well to win the UEFA Cup title in the 2003/2004 season, with the team beating Marseille in the final of the competition.
A number of top-class footballers were part of the club in the past, with the likes of Pablo Aimar, Ruben Baraja, David Albelda, Santiago Canizares, John Carew and Gaizka Mendieta all playing for the Estadio de Mestalla outfit. Valencia main colors are white and black, whilst they often where orange jerseys and shorts when playing on the travels.