Real Sociedad have won the Spanish Cup 34 years later. A title that makes justice to an attractive playing style proposal that dominated the tournament all the way through and that has extended for a year until Illarramendi, who was devastated a few hours before the game as he would not be able to play it due to an injury, lifted the trophy at La Cartuja Stadium along with the rest of his teammates.
Real are a ‘real’ team of guys that have all been formed at the Zubieta Academy with a playing idea that many of us feel identified with: it is very difficult to lose if you have the ball and stop your opponent from steeping out of their half. And that is exactly what happened, a duel that was not pretty at all, as both teams were too focused on not making mistakes so they would not lose against their biggest rival, but Real found the way to take control of it and drown Athletic at the only aspect they could harm then, offensive transitions.
VAR had the spotlights on it once again with three mistakes on a supposed handball on Iñigo Martínez that was inside the box, but they called it out just in case that was not a handball. A great pass by Merino found Athletic defenders´back and connected with Portu, but he was faulted and the action ended on a decisive penalty provoked by someone who left Donostia in order to sign for the biggest rival. TV saved him when he was on his way to the locker-room, but Athletic were not even able to lock Real on their box through crosses.
We must remind you both team´s way to the final, because it has been a year, but it matters: Athletic beat Elche in the first round in PKs after the opponent had a chance to score and win. Real Sociedad defeated Espanyol 2-0. Athletic made it through in the next round the same way they did against Elche, but this time against Tenerife. Real beat Osasuna 3-1; quarter finals, Athletic won against Barcelona with a header in extra time with their only attempt on target in the entire game. Real beat Madrid at the Bernabéu 3-4 (they were up 0-3 and 1-4); semifinals, Athletic advanced thanks to a goal by Yuri at the end of the second leg that held Granada off from completing a comeback. Real won both games against Mirandés.
Oyarzabal´s tears at the end of the game symbolize the win of a team that has built a solid project with a recognizable identity. “This is awesome”, he said. Real Sociedad, champions from the start to the end.