Super-sub Edgar’s 82nd-minute strike proved to the difference in an absorbing semifinal on Thursday night, as Deportivo Alaves edged Celta Vigo 1-0 (1-0 aggregate) in the second-leg to set up a final with giants Barcelona.
It was the Basque side who took the initiative and dominated for long periods at the Mendizorroza. They laid siege to the Celta goal with, with the visitors relying on counter-attacks led by the eve-present Iago Aspas. As the second half progressed, Celta keeper Sergio Alvarez was called into the action, saving well from Ibai Gomez, and minutes later Alaves striker Deyverson blazed over in a one on one.
The pressure finally paid off when a flick on sent Edgar Mendez racing into the area. He showed great composure to lift his shot over Sergio Alvarez and started the celebrations off among home fans with eight minutes remaining. Celta piled forward, with keeper Sergio Alvarez joining the attack in time added on, but the Galicians were unable to find a goal that would have put them through instead.
A fair result after a scoreless draw in the first leg, with the home side guilty of a few misses which would have really put the result beyond any doubt.
While Barcelona saw off a gritty Atletico Madrid to reach their fourth final in as many years on Wednesday, it is the Basque side’s maiden cup final appearance.