Athletic Club and Real Sociedad will go head to head at San Mamés on the final day of 2020. Curiously, it won’t be the first time the lions have played on New Year’s Eve, nor the first time they’ve seen out the year against la Real. We take a look at Athletic’s New Year’s Eve LaLiga matches.
In the 80s, the lions had two New Year’s Eve showdowns. The last time Athletic played on this date was in 1988-89, when RC Celta came to Bilbao for their Matchday 17 fixture. A brace by Peio Uralde was enough to give the lions victory over the Galician outfit.
In 1983-84, Athletic travelled to San Sebastian to face Real Sociedad. Led by Javier Clemente, Athletic took all three points home thanks to an early goal by Estanislao Argote. It was a derby win made all the more important by the fact Athletic went on to lift the LaLiga trophy at the end of the season, the last time the lions did so.
Going even further back, there was some high-scoring affairs on this date in the 60s and 70s. In 1972, the lions, then managed by Milorad Pavic, had a bad day at the office against Burgos CF, succumbing to a 5-1 loss at El Plantío.
However, in the previous decade, it was the lions who were setting off the New Year’s Eve fireworks, with a couple of thrashings at San Mamés. In 1961, Athletic beat Sevilla FC 5-1, thanks to braces by Koldo Aguirre and Mauri, as well as a strike by Ignacio Uribe. Six years later, in 1967, Athletic dismantled Real Betis 8-0, a match that stands out due to the five goals scored by Fidel Uriarte.
Athletic played on New Year’s Eve three times in the 30s and 50s, but the results weren’t the best. The lions lost 2-0 against Atlético Madrid at the Metropolitano in 1950. In 1939, a late equaliser by Unamuno 1 rescued a point for Athletic in a 1-1 draw against Real Zaragoza. The first ever year-ending fixture for Athletic Club took place in 1933, with the lions falling to a 3-2 defeat against Real Racing Club at El Sardinero.
Meanwhile Athletic Club have taken part in one Copa fixture on the final day of the year. In 1944, the lions knocked Cultural y Deportiva Leonesa out of the Copa after winning 1-3 at La Corredera.
New Year’s Day
On various occasions, Athletic have also kicked off the year with an official fixture. The lions have played six New Year’s Day LaLiga showdowns, recording five wins and one loss. Amongst the victories, the 2-4 win over Real Sociedad at Atotxa in 1933 stands out, while the lions also thrashed Castellón 6-0 at San Mamés thanks to five goals by Telmo Zarra way back in 1947.
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