Mar 4, 2021 at 8pm UK
Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao
Marti (17')
Duarte (28'), Rochina (76')
Garcia (30' pen.), Berenguer (112')
Nunez (42'), Lopez (55'), de Marcos (105+1')

Preview: Levante vs. Athletic Bilbao - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Levante vs. Athletic Bilbao - prediction, team news, lineups: ID:437476: from db_amp
Sports Mole previews Thursday's Copa del Rey clash between Levante and Athletic Bilbao, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Levante welcome Athletic Bilbao to the Estadi Ciutat de Valencia on Thursday, in the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final tie.

The sides played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg, while they shared the same scoreline in league action last time out.

Match preview

In the away leg of their semi-final tie, Gonzalo Melero put Levante ahead in the first half with a close-range finish, before Inigo Martinez headed in the equaliser for Athletic from a corner to see the sides go into the second leg level.

That score was repeated when Athletic travelled to Los Granotas in La Liga action on Friday, when a Roger Marti penalty for the hosts was cancelled out by a Raul Garcia spot kick in the second half, as the sides shared the points.

Before that, Levante played consecutive top-flight matches against league leaders Atletico Madrid, picking up a commendable tally of four points.

Firstly, they drew 1-1 at home to the side from the Spanish capital, when Marcos Llorente equalised after Enis Bardhi put Los Granotas ahead.

After that draw, they secured an impressive 2-0 victory at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, thanks to a Mario Hermoso own goal followed by a Jorge de Frutos goal deep into added time which put the game to bed.

Paco Lopez's side progressed to the final four of the Copa del Rey with a narrow win over Villarreal, when Roger Marti found the net in the last minute of added time to send his side through.

Meanwhile, that recent draw with Levante extended Athletic Bilbao's unbeaten run to six games in all competitions.

Before that, Marcelino's men played out another 1-1 draw when they hosted Villarreal, when Alejandro Berenguer netted an equaliser after Gerard Moreno scored for Unai Emery's side.

They progressed to this round by defeating Real Betis in a penalty shootout, with Unai Simon producing two consecutive saves to see his side through.

That came after Raul Garcia equalised for Marcelino's side deep into added time to take the game to extra time, with the two teams drawing 1-1 after 120 minutes.

The club from the Basque country sit just two points behind Levante in the La Liga table, but their focus on Thursday will be to advance to the final of the Copa del Rey as they look to lift their 29th Spanish cup title.

Levante Copa del Rey form: WWWWD
Levante form (all competitions): DDLDWD

Athletic Bilbao Copa del Rey form: WWWD
Athletic Bilbao form (all competitions): WDDWDD

Team News

Levante remain without several important players through injury, including Enis Bardhi, who missed the last game with a muscle injury after scoring his first goal of the season against Atletico Madrid.

He is joined on the sidelines by the midfield trio of Jose Campana, Gonzalo Melero and Nemanja Radoja, who are all out with injuries.

Paco Lopez's defence has also taken a hit, as experienced centre-back Sergio Postigo is out of contention with a muscle injury.

However, they will be boosted by the return of defender Ruben Vezo, who served a suspension last time out having picked up his fifth La Liga yellow card of the season.

Dani Cardenas and Aitor Fernandez have battled for the goalkeeper slot this campaign, with Fernandez starting the last match despite Cardenas featuring in the first leg of the semi-final.

Meanwhile, the visitors will be without Inigo Martinez, who scored in the first leg of this tie, as he will serve a suspension for a red card shown late in the recent league clash with Levante.

However, they will have the boost of the returning midfield pairing of Unai Lopez and Dani Garcia, after they both served suspensions in the recent league draw with Levante.

Levante possible starting lineup:
Cardenas; Vezo, Duarte, Rober; Coke, Vukcevic, Rochina, Clerc; De Frutos, Marti, Morales

Athletic Bilbao possible starting lineup:
Simon; Capa, Nunez, Alvarez, Berchiche; Berenguer, D Garcia, Lopez, Muniain; Williams, R Garcia

We say: Levante 2-1 Athletic Bilbao

In what should be a very tight game between two sides having impressive campaigns, we see the hosts just edging this second leg, advancing by one goal.

While we expect Bilbao to secure the important away goal, the tightness and cohesion of Lopez's side should see them through to the final, just as it has carried them to a strong position in La Liga.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data

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