We love an underdog story. They offer us a flicker of hope, a light at the end of the tunnel and they make us feel like anything is possible.
Despite Real Sociedad and Athletic Club knocking Real Madrid and Barcelona out of the Copa del Rey during the week, the underdog story of the round was undoubtably Mirandes – the Segunda Division side securing their place in the semi finals with victory over Villarreal.
But just who exactly are these plucky underdogs, and how have they got to this stage of the Spanish cup competition?
Who Are Mirandes?
CD Mirandes are from Miranda de Ebro in the northern province of Burgos, and they play in the second tier. Mirandes currently sit 11th in the Segunda Division, 14 points off top spot and 14 points off bottom of the league.
This is their first season back in the second tier after they were promoted via the playoffs last year. The club have never played in La Liga, and did not play in the Segunda Division until 2012.
Mirandes play their home games at Estadio Municipal de Anduva, which has a capacity of 5,759, but will play host to Adnan Januzaj, Martin Odegaard and Nacho Monreal at the beginning of March when Mirandes welcome La Real for their semi final second leg.
How Have They Got This Far?
Mirandes knocked out Champions League-chasing Villarreal in the Copa del Rey quarter finals, beating their La Liga opponents 4-2 on home soil. This was actually their third consecutive Copa del Rey giant killing of the season, having already knocked out Seville and Celta Vigo en route to the semi finals.
Mirandes required extra time to progress through the first three Copa del Rey rounds. Against Coruxo in the first round, they had led and been pegged back three times – finding themselves 4-3 down going into injury time.
Remarkably, they equalised from the penalty spot in the 92nd minute, Coruxo then had two players sent off, and M
It took extra time and a 114th-minute winner to progress in both their second and third round matches against Real Murcia and Celta.
Mirandes made lighter work of Sevilla, beating the top flight side 3-1.
Have They Reached This Stage Before?
Mirandes went on a similarly astonishing journey during the 2011/12 season when they were still playing in the Spanish third tier. The club became the ultimate David and Goliath story, eliminating Villarreal (something about them, eh?), Racing Santander and Espanyol during their remarkable run to the semi finals.
The team's talisman was Pablo Infante, a bank clerk who found the net four times in four games (remember, the Copa was in a two-legged format throughout back then) over their La Liga opposition.
They eventually lost 8-3 on aggregate to Athletic Club in the last four.