HUESCA, Spain – Athletic Bilbao finished off a humiliating 8-0 aggregate rout of Huesca in the Copa del Rey round of 32, following up its 4-0 first-leg victory with an away win by the same score on Thursday.
The match at El Alcoraz Stadium featured little in the way of excitement, with Huesca appearing more resigned to defeat than determined to make an improbable comeback.
A header by Huesca winger Serdar Gurler shortly after the opening whistle and an attempt by Athletic’s Beñat Etxebarria to score directly off of a corner kick at the quarter-hour mark were two rare scoring chances in an otherwise dull first half hour.
But with eight minutes to go in the first half, Aritz Aduriz received a pass from Iñigo Martinez and chipped the ball over oncoming Huesca net minder Axel Werner to open the scoring.
The game was not much more riveting after halftime, although Aduriz made the score 6-0 on aggregate in the 59th minute when he casually booted the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Axel Werner after Huesca’s defenders had botched an attempt to set an offside trap.
The hosts then had two excellent chances to get on the scoreboard, but a shot by Chimy Avila hit the post in the 68th minute and a penalty attempt by Juanjo Camacho went wide of the right upright 10 minutes later.
Iñaki Williams added to Huesca’s woes over the final 15 minutes, scoring once off of a pass from Raul Garcia in minute 81 and again in second-half stoppage time after a defensive blunder.
Athletic Bilbao – winner of 23 titles in Spain’s annual knockout cup competition, second only to FC Barcelona – is back in the Copa del Rey last 16 a year after crashing out in the round of 32 to lower-tier side Formentera.
The win also was a positive start for new head coach Gaizka Garitano, who has been tasked with preventing Athletic (currently 18th out of 20 teams in La Liga) from being relegated for the first time in club history.
For Huesca, the 8-0 loss to Athletic Bilbao is the latest sign it is not in the same class with Spain’s first-division sides.
The northeastern Spanish club, which is competing in La Liga for the first time in its history in 2018-2019, is currently in last place with a record of one win, four draws and nine losses.