Athletic Bilbao beats Mallorca on penalties to win first Copa del Rey in 40 years

Athletic Bilbao's Inaki Williams celebrates scoring his side's third goal during the Copa del Rey quarterfinals soccer match between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao, Spain, on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024. (Alvaro Barrientos/AP Photo)

SEVILLE, Spain — Athletic Bilbao beat Mallorca 4-2 on penalties to end a 40-year wait for its 24th Copa del Rey title on Saturday.

Athletic goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala saved a penalty by Manuel Morlanes, while Mallorca’s Nemanja Radonjic shot high. Raul García, Iker Muniain, Mikel Vesga, and Alejandro Berenguer — all substitutes — converted their spot kicks.

Extra time in the final ended 1-1 after Dani Rodríguez gave Mallorca the lead in the 21st minute and Athletic’s Oihan Sancet levelled in the 50th.

Muniain received the trophy from Spanish King Felipe VI before lifting it high for his team and fans to celebrate.

Athletic won its 23rd and last Copa in 1984. Since then it has lost six straight finals, including in 2020 and 2021.

“This is incredible. Our fans have always been behind us and now it is time to enjoy this,” Athletic forward Nico Williams said. “We have been fighting for this for a long time.”

Only Barcelona and its 31 Copas have more than Athletic, which excels at the tournament despite fielding players only from or near Spain’s northern Basque Country region.

NBA great Steve Nash, a minority owner of Mallorca, was at the game, as well as Rafael Nadal, a native of the island of Mallorca. Each club had 20,000 tickets for travelling fans at the packed 57,000-seat La Cartuja Stadium. Some 40,000 more fans, mostly for Athletic, were expected to descend on the southern city without tickets.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.