Thursday’s Basque Cup Final between Athletic Club and Deportivo Alaves was the last friendly of the summer for both clubs. The winner was going to be crowned as the best team in the Basque Country but, technically, the game never ended. Mikel Vesga opened up the scoring before Ibai Gomez equalized through a penalty. Aritz Aduriz took the lead back in the second half, but once again Alaves netted a penalty. With the score stuck at 2-2 in the final minutes it looked headed for penalties, but that isn’t what happened.
Towards the end of the match, Alaves pair Alexis and Romero were both sent off. Alexis committed a dangerous tackle on Enric Saborit and the two clubs began shoving each other as tempers rose. Eventually the Alaves defender put his hands on the referee who immediately proceeded to walk off the pitch with his two linesmen. Players from both teams tried to talk to the officials as they made their exit, but soon the referees were nowhere to be found.
After roughly 20 minutes of confusion, Athletic Club announced that the game had been temporarily suspended while things were cleared up. Time continued to pass and the players eventually left the field with no final score or decision on the winner. The end to the Basque Cup final has left a bad taste in everyone’s mouths and the fans in Lasessare were very unhappy with the entire situation. Players from both sides, including manager Kuko Ziganda, admitted after the game that they had never experienced something like this ever before.
Now that the preseason has finally come to a close, Athletic Club will turn their attention to the upcoming campaign. On Thursday the Lions will travel to Greece to take on Panathinaikos in the first leg of their Europa League knock-out tie with the return leg taking place on 24 August at the San Mamés. In between the two meetings, Athletic will begin their La Liga calendar on Sunday against Getafe in Bilbao. Kuko Ziganda’s first season as manager comes with a lot of expectations and it all begins in just a few days.