A one-all draw was all that Athletic Club could reap in Iruñea against Osasuna, the…
A one-all draw was all that Athletic Club could reap in Iruñea against Osasuna, the first goal scored by Gabilondo in the first half and the second by Soldado just after the half time break. The draw is only a small step and reminds us, keeping in mind the results of this season, that we need to do our homework, if we don’t want to be at the bottom in the standings.
Athletic Club had the match in their grasp, and in the end lost their grip, on a field that bore witness to Osasuna being fourth in the League last season which gave them the right to dispute the Champions League this year. It’s getting harder and harder to remember a victory on this field which is not surprising if we consider the virtues of the rival team.
A tough opponent who came out strong, however, Athletic were able to withstand the barrage of the first few minutes and then went on to take control of the first half. Osasuna only had three good goal-scoring opportunities and all three were headers. The first two were struck by Webo but were way off mark and the third by Raúl García whose shot at goal sailed over the cross bar in the 35th minute.
On our behalf Javi Martínez gave Ricardo a work out, the first in the 18th minute, and from that moment on paved the way for our team to get ahead on the scoreboard. Stealing possession of the ball and opening gaps in defence on the wings. On one of theses occasions the ball ended up on the right wing and Etxeberria was able to kick it to the centre towards Gabilondo, who was able to head the ball into the back of the net enabling the Red-Whites to take the lead. Gabilondo had already taken a shot at goal from way back prior to this. Athletic kept on fighting in search of the second goal and Yeste also gave Ricardo a work out after having taken a foul shot which the rojiblancos considered a goal claiming that the goalkeeper had repelled the ball whilst under the goalposts.
Half the work had already been done; however, our team still had to bear the brunt of our rival’s reaction. Firstly, Ziganda sent Soldado in to replace Webo and then Iraola had to deflect the ball from under the goalposts as a result of a bad attempt in clearing the ball by Aduriz. Unfortunately, just when it seemed that Athletic had weathered the storm, just like they had in the first half, a play by Valdo was repelled by Sarriegi and finished off by Soldado from a very short distance resulting in a stalemate being reached in the match.
Athletic accepted the challenge and took the initiative in the encounter from then on or at least till the home stretch when Osasuna came back with a vengeance. Aduriz finished off a ball which just missed and Yeste tried to see if Ricardo was paying attention when kicking a foul. Nevertheless, it was Gabilondo who demonstrated, just like he had in the Copa, quality football with a touch of bad luck with a shot at goal that resulted in the ball going between the goalkeeper’s legs, however, the goalie was somehow able to repel the ball and it was the defender Corrales who had to clear the ball from his very own line.
Osasuna were waiting for their opportunity and were moving the chess pieces in order to adapt to the new situation. Milosevic was sent to the showers and David López took his place which meant that Valdo could get more involved in the match and resulted in destabilizing the Red-and-White defence. The following changes were made in the last ten minutes of the game; Juanlu stepped in for Delporte, Urzaiz was sent in to replace an injured Aduriz, Dañobeitia replaced Etxeberria and Yeste’s place was taken by Beñat Etxebarria, who made his debut in first division, at the beginning of last season he played for Baskonia in Third Division.
Athletic tried everything and insisted on creating goal-scoring opportunities but they couldn’t finish them off and their counterattack didn’t have the desired effect and then Osasuna took the reigns of the match. David López took a shot at goal at an angle, a bad attempt to clear the ball by Urzaiz with his head almost ended up being a goal and so too Soldado’s counter-attack in the 92nd minute. Nonetheless, it was Lafuente who was able to save the day and in so doing put the memory of the terrible defeat last season when goals where scored against out team in extra time behind him.
To sum up, besides the already mentioned debut of Beñat, there are two things we’d like to mention that cannot be ignored. Firstly, the over protection of Osasuna by their supporters and, secondly, the aggression that these supporters displayed. This is by far the worst incident to date. It is unacceptable that two firecrackers are thrown at Iñaki Lafuente while the player is warming up on field. It is totally unacceptable in the Reyno de Navarra or Reino de Thailandia (the Kingdom of Navarre or the Kingdom of Thailand). And, needless to say at San Mamés.