Athletic Club defeated (3-1) FC Barcelona in the last matchday of the 2005-2006 season and…
Athletic Club defeated (3-1) FC Barcelona in the last matchday of the 2005-2006 season and has offered its fans a victory in the duel that least tension offered facing the classification. Our team finally classified 12 on the table with 45 points.
Eto’o put the Catalans ahead in the first half, and in the second half the goals by Iraola, Felipe and Oleguer’s own goal, turned the marker over; a match with goals and obtainable occasions with few defensive precautions by both contenders. If our players had in mind to end the season confidently, the visitors, after pocketing the Liga and Champions League, were set on helping Eto’o all they possibly could to obtain the Pichichi award. That’s why goal occasions were frequent at both ends. By the 4th minute, Jorquera had already intervened individual shots at goal by Murillo and Iraola, but Maxi created the greatest danger in the minute 13, after surpassing Lafuente; but Prieto was able to turn the ball away to the post; a minute later a whistling Ezquerro made Lafuente work, and a quarter of an hour after that Urzaiz finished off a shot wide.
The minute 17 ran when Eto’o had the Pichichi at hand for the first time, but Lafuente deflected the ball with his legs. In the minute 18, Tiko shot high, in the 19th it seemed that Motta committed a penalty on Urzaiz and in the 26th Urzaiz himself shot a header out.
Between comings and goings, Eto’o hit his objective in the minute 35 of play. The player from Cameroon defectively controlled a ball on the edge of the area, but a team-mate returned the ball under superb conditions. His ability and Ustaritz’ slip caused a one-to-one with Lafuente which the forward transformed into goal. Although Tiko made Jorquera work in the minute 40, the champion of the Liga and the Champion’s League have left the field with an advantage at the break.
In the second half, the colours have been red and white, although Barça continued leaving quality sparks. For starters, Urzaiz shot wide in the minute 50; in the 51st Felipe, who made his debut this season and in the end has been decisive for the victory, replaced an injured Murillo and, in the minute 56 arrived the goal by Iraola, who took advantage of a loose ball in the area after a cross from Lacruz and placed the ball with total serenity and aim. Soon after the arrival of the draw Tiko and Llorente have yielded their place to Guerrero and Etxeberria. Rijkaard, on the other hand, counted on the reserves from the beginning and in the substitutions. In the first substitution, Pitu replaced Giuly in the minute 62, and in the final minutes Martos replaced Orlandi and Ramon substituted Ludovic.
It was as if suddenly the match had recovered the initial vitality. Iraola could have inclined the balance sooner, since in the minute 63 he stood alone before Jorquera, but after the dribbling he was left with no angle. Prieto finished off a corner with a header in the minute 71, but the ball went high, and Ezquerro did the most difficult, to send the leather out in the 73rd. On a day that sounded like a farewell, Felipe returned to play in the position he debuted in with the first team, as a midfielder, in another season worth not remembering, the 1995-1996 season, and has scored the 2-1 finishing off a defence’s reject with his left. And to round off the celebration, a centre by Joseba Etxeberria from the left was introduced by Oleguer in his own goal.
With the match on track the occasions didn’t disappeared: in the minute 85, Eto’o took advantage of a tremendous hole past the defence to stand before Lafuente, but the goalkeeper repelled the forward’s shot. Jorquera did the same in the 87th minute, after a free kick by Guerrero and in the following play Etxeberria linked a volley high. In the end the 3-1 and with our thoughts already set on next season.
When the match ended, and as it happened at the beginning and after the break, some fans decided to make their mood patent. Beyond the quantity, they have done so by means of handkerchiefs and/or whistles, while looking over at the director’s box, with all the rights everyone has to protest, while respecting those who do not share emotions or impressions.
In that sense, it is clear that all Athletic Club staff have their part of responsibility, each his/her own, so that the same errors of the current season are not repeated. On the contrary, the disappointing course of our first team does not seem cause enough to alter what the Athletic Club members decide every four years in elections based on universal suffrage with the right to vote for over 34,000 members; another identity sign that makes our Club great. Unfortunately, one of the few variables, not to say the only one, is the competition and its later end result that cannot be controlled by means of votes or decisions made.