Cinderllea squad falls in Copa Del Rey semis


The Associated Press

Mirandes’ Ander Lambarri, left pulls the shirt of Athletic Bilbao’s Ander Iturraspe during the semi final. Mirandes lost 8-3 on aggregate.

Anthony Mannino

CD Mirandes' fairytale run in el Copa del Rey ended with Mirandes — the Rojillos, as they're called — losing to Athletic Bilboa in the semi-final second leg 6-2, and 8-3 on aggregate.

Playing in the third division in Spain (Segunda B), Mirandes is comprised of semi-pros, never-was, and has-been players, and most of the squad members either go to college or have a second job. The Rjillos were only the second team ever from Segunda B to make it to the semi-finals of el Copa del Rey, and the first since 2002.

Athletic Bilboa had a one-goal lead heading into the second leg of the semi-final, after beating Mirandes 2-1in the first match. A 90th minute strike from Ander Lambarri for the Rojillos meant the club only needed a 1-0 win to play in the finals of el Copa del Rey and earn a spot to play in Europe. Sadly for the Mirandes faithful, that did not happen.

The Rojillos attacked early on in yesterday's match trying to get the game's first goal, but paid defensively. Poor defending by Mirandes allowed 19-year-old talent Iker Munain to score the game's first goal in the 11th minute. Three minutes later, Markel Susaeta found the net after a beautiful passing move from Athletic Bilboa. The game was essentially over by halftime when a Susaeta cross found defender Jon Aurtenetxe, and Athletic Bilboa was up 3-0.

Mirandes would need divine inspiration, or somehow have Messi suit-up for them in the second half if they were going to score the four goals they needed to advance to the final; the little Argentinean did not suit up, but the Rojillos did score two goals after halftime.

The work rate from Mirandes was superb, but Athletic Bilboa striker Fernando Llorente showed why he is a world-class stirker. With a defender on his hip and the keeper coming out, Llorente chipped the goalie from outside the box to score his first goal. Llorente topped that goal with his second; the Spanish striker dove feet first for a cross and exquisitely finished with his first touch.

The two goals provided evidence to why many believe Llorente could start to Spain in the Euro 2012. The Athletico Bilboa striker is still a goal behind Copa del Rey's top scorer, Mirandes' Pablo Infante, who also works at a bank.

Llorente and his teammates now await the Barcelona-Valencia semi-final match to see whom they will face in the final.