Valencia CF VS Athletic Club 11/11/2006 | Athletic Club’s Official Website
Matchday 10

Valencia CF1 : 1Athletic Club

10:00 PM
Date and time
11/11/2006 - 10:00 PM

Valencia 1-Athletic Club 1: A reward for all their hard work

Athletic Club and Valencia reached a one-all draw which was a much deserved result for…

Nov 11, 2006

Athletic Club and Valencia reached a one-all draw which was a much deserved result for our team. Morientes scored just before the break and Llorente scored the equaliser during injury time. Besides, the one point and keeping in mind the week that was, the draw has shown us that our team are able to measure up to the League favourites with all their virtues and defects.

Mestalla is a difficult field for Athletic, if we consider the fact that our team haven’t won there in over twenty years, however on this and on the previous occasion the return trip back home was made more pleasurable after having reached a draw. Nevertheless, the difference this season from those of the past, is that the draw was achieved with less mistakes ,however, with more inaccuracy when it comes to finding the back of the rival’s net. This outcome will help the team overcome the blow suffered in the Copa eliminatory and help them get over the tiredness they have accumulated during the week.

To date Valencia had not given away any points at home and has only had one goal scored against them at home, which occurred in the first match day of the competition. It’s hard to evaluate whether the x marked on the Football Pools sheet is worth a little or a lot of money because in football a system that awards more than a point in case of a draw does not exist, but we do know that the one point was a well deserved achievement.

If anyone had a doubt in the past or even prior to this match, with regards to the eagerness with which our team would tackle the encounter, they were soon to be left without a doubt. Athletic took the initiative right from the very start and Valencia were not comfortable at all. It took a lot for them to move the ball out of their own territory and even more to pass the ball onto their dangerous strikers.

In the 2nd minute Gabilondo almost finished off a centred pass from the right. In the 9th minute Urzaiz received a good pass from Aduriz and took a shot at goal knowing that Cañizares would leave the goal area, the option of pairing up with Aduriz perhaps would have made it easier for a goal to have been scored. In the 21st minute Urzaiz was at it again in the complicated goal area. It’s hard to budge him and even more so to stop him in the air, and David Navarro was hanging on to him but this was not clear for the referee and the referee opted for taking advantage of the situation by calling a foul against Navarro who touched, off balance, the ball with his hand,

Five minutes later Urzaiz passed the ball to Gabilondo whilst in the goal area, but the ball kicked by Gabilondo struck Cañizares’s body. And what the about the host team? During all this time Lafuente only had to stop a long distance shot at goal taken by Albiol, but in the final stages of the first half Valencia were able to bring out the best of themselves and did their utmost to score a goal.

What’s more, the referee did not call for a penalty committed by Sarriegi against Silva in minute 28 of the game. It’s sad to think that that this would be a cause for joy in considering it a moral compensation for the previous uncalled penalty. As a result of this Valencia grew in strength. In the 32nd minute Lafuente deflected a Morientes header which was then sent to corner by Sarriegi. In the 39th minute Villa was offside when Silva took the shot at goal and in the 43rd minute Miguel passed the ball to the centre and Morientes took a line shot at goal far away from Lafuente’s reach. A goal by those known as the psychologists, but one that could not dampen the fighting spirit shown by our team in the encounter so far.

With determination but without too much fluidity Athletic took on the almost impossible task of defeating Valencia now that they were ahead on the scoreboard. The “Ches” took their time in showing their privileged virtues, in the counterattack department. Curiously, the four players who ended up playing in the offensive positions until Villa was replaced have been chosen to play for the Spanish National Team this week and, Joaquin is one of the habitual players of the Spanish team.

And the Red/Whites were able to pin them down despite Valencia being in the goal area. They didn’t create any goal scoring opportunities in the entire second half and this is worth highlighting. Athletic also had some serious difficulties in creating opportunities against a rival who seemed to take a step back learning from the mistakes made in the first half and who had tried to take advantage of the nervousness of the Red/Whites and their difficulties in moving the ball away from the midfield area.

As if this were not enough for a team that has difficulty in scoring and who are playing against a tough and well-armed rival. To make things worse, all the substitutions made by Sánchez Flores were done with the definite aim of making his team even more solid. Angulo in for Joaquín, Hugo Viana for Edu and Baraja for the striker Villa.

Urzaiz took a shot at goal under pressure from a foul kick in the 60th minute. In the 73rd minute Etxeberria was sent in to replace Aduriz to give more depth on the right wing. In the 79th minute, Gabilondo’s indirect free kick hit the posts and in the 80th minute Llorente stepped in for Expósito. If playing away from home with Gabilondo, Yeste, Urzaiz and Aduriz is an offensive approach, then the combination of Etxeberria, Urzaiz, Llorente and Yeste with Gabilondo on the left wing is even more so. With faith until the very end Athletic were able to tie the match the result of a long pass by Urzaiz which was intercepted by Etxeberria on the wing, and who in turn closed in on Cerra in order to find a gap and who then took a measured kick which went to the centre and, finally the ball was headed by Llorente into the back of the net. Today, our team were able to reap the rewards on a difficult field and it’s the first time that they have scored an equalising goal. On prior occasions they have either scored first or reached a score-less draw.

One more point away from home against one of the favourites to win the League. A point that won’t change our place in the standings, but will help convince our team in believing a lot more in their possibilities of success, which is sure to come.

A special mention concerning the atmosphere surrounding the team from Wednesday to Saturday. Any person obliged by the Journalism Faculty to write a doctoral thesis can do a wonderful job in the field by carefully watching, listening and reading the information that has been broadcasted, spread and written of late. Have you heard of the saying “Reality doesn’t ruin a good headline”?, well the biggest favour all of us, who are in one way or another involved with Athletic Club, or the press can do for the Club is to be responsible with regards to the vox populi. If our club has any sort of news, it will be made public. Trying to force the issue is an ugly affair that helps no one.

In the Press Room

Athletic Club Coach, Félix Sarriugarte affirmed that the draw reached at Mestalla is a reward for how the team played: ‘We tried to push and against a great team like Valencia who have won all their home games to date, and with a lot of work, we got what we deserved’. He also said: “this result is important for our mental strength” and when asked about his state of mind, he responded: ‘at a personal level this result was not necessary, I just think about the benefit it gives Athletic”.