Nico Williams, legs and soul | Soccer | Sports


Nerves gripped Athletic for half an hour. As if the responsibility of appearing in front of a stadium in which two-thirds of its capacity was occupied by red-and-white fans weighed on their state of mind, instead of making them fly, as happens in San Mamés. The Williams brothers especially seemed to want to resolve the matter on their own. Nico had all the spotlights on him. He is the decisive player in Ernesto Valverde’s usual lineup, and much of his team’s offensive flow leaned towards him.


Julen Agirrezabala, Daniel Vivian, Aitor Paredes, Yuri (Lekue, min. 106), De Marcos, O. Sancet (Muniain, min. 90), Benat Prados (Vesga, min. 45), Nico Williams, Ruiz de Galarreta (Unai Gómez, min. 79), Williams (Berenguer, min. 90) and Guruzeta (Raúl García, min. 90)



Dominik Greif, Copete (Nastasic, min. 107), Giovanni González, Raíllo, Lato (Siebe van der Heyden, min. 110), Valjent (Pablo Maffeo, min. 90), Dani (Radonjic, min. 73), Samuel Costa , Darder (Manu Morlanes, min. 62), Muriqi and Cyle Larin (Antonio Sánchez, min. 62)

Goals 0-1 min. 20: Danny. 1-1 min. 50: O. Sancet.

Referee José Luis Munuera Montero

Yellow cards Aitor Paredes (min. 26), Muriqi (min. 91) and Radonjic (min. 118)

But after 20 minutes, in a catastrophic butterfly effect for Athletic, he got confused with the ball at his feet, gave it back without looking, and the counterattack play ended in a corner kick. Mallorca threw it, his brother Iñaki cleared it, he was left lying on the ground for a moment, and when the referee was about to stop the game, due to the incident, he got up. The play continued, it ended again in a corner, and there came Mallorca’s goal.

It took Nico a few minutes to recover, but then he offered himself again as he had from the beginning of the match. Already in the initial play, after a steal in defense of his team, he rushed towards Dominik Greif’s goal, but his shot went wide.

In combination with Yuri, on the left wing of Athletic, the youngest of the Williams saga made Gio González sweat in his marking. The Mallorca defender saw him slip away on more than one occasion, beating him with speed. Nico received a foul on the side of the area, but he launched it himself so that the ball was lost in limbo. He was also the protagonist in another action with Yuri, who hit him with a deep ball, which ended in a goal, although there was a flag up and the VAR confirmed the offside, which was not as clear as it seemed on the field. In a similar action, almost at half-time, he again stood in front of the Mallorca goalkeeper, but the shot, somewhat hasty, went wide next to the post.

The red and whites went crestfallen at half-time, with the score against, and Mallorca caused a scare in the first play of the second half, when they could have reached a much greater advantage, but from then on the duo between Yuri and Nico Williams worked again . The harassment on Mallorca’s goal began to be total. In one of those actions, a combination between the two left wing players ended with a perfect pass from Nico, which uncovered the jar of essences for Sancet, who with a cross shot tied the game and thus returned the game and the end to the starting point.

From there we began to see an overflowing player, who became master of his area. In the 61st minute he starred in the action of the night, when he looked for the baseline and after two dribbles, he put a poisoned ball that found no finisher. Nico Williams was already the protagonist in Athletic.

Then Aguirre moved his chips, and the rojiblanco forward did not appear as much; fatigue came. After overtime, he had to be treated on the sideline with cramps. When it was time for penalties, Nico Williams was stiff. Ernesto Valverde prayed that he would not have to pitch. He didn’t touch him. His companions did the rest of the work. When Berenguer scored the fourth, after the two missed by Mallorca, by Morlanes and Radonjic, he still had the strength to run, like the rest of his teammates, to the bottom to celebrate with the fans. It was the end of a 40-year cup drought, since that event in 1984. Then, when it was time to collect the medals, he did not take it off, like in the Super Cup. He kept it. He was champion, and was named best player of the match.

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