Athletic Club got their first home victory of the season after defeating Recreativo de Huelva…
Athletic Club got their first home victory of the season after defeating Recreativo de Huelva 4-2; The Rojiblancos’ goals, an own goal by Dani Bautista, Urzaiz on two occasions and Garmendia. For the visiting team the goals were scored by Uche and Sarriegi scored on own goal. There were own goals and others of quite beautiful charge. In general, those who truly enjoyed it were the fans that, conscious of the importance of the encounter, massively assembled in San Mamés, while being grateful that our team has at least recovered part of the virtues that have allowed it to reap much fruit from home matches. Thanks to today’s three points Athletic is out of relegation spots and everything helps when it comes to preparing for future commitments with greater peace of mind.
That the match had the characteristics of a life or death clash was undeniable and that’s how it was seen in the first minutes, with evident doses of nervousness. This ended around the 5th minute of play when Etxeberria, less, and Dani Bautista both ran for a long ball by Aranzubia. The defender got ahead, but when hitting the header he didn’t realize the position of his goalkeeper and the ball went directly towards Recreativo’s own goal, perhaps also pushed a little by most spectators. One of those difficult plays to judge even when replayed and that the assistant had not doubt in granting the character of a goal, in spite of the desperate attempt by Lopez Vallejo to avoid it.
The assertion that small details have great importance in soccer does not lose strength for having been repeated in previous encounters. The own goal by the visitors untied all the knots that pressed our players and these were released from the load that ties down any team who happens to be in the lower spots on the table. Spurred on, they decided not to let the occasion pass and cornered a rival who was considered the revelation of the championship, they were sixth, and who did not come to the meet prepared for that type of match and whom they didn’t allow to react. Conscious of the limitations in the midfield given the accumulation of injuries in that area, Iraola played as pivot and the rival’s potential, the Rojiblancos chose to play more crossed balls and deep, all this seasoned with good pressure when the rival’s balls came out. In the minute 10, Yeste found the goalkeeper from a long free kick; in the 15th, Urzaiz finished off a corner serve with a header but Lopez Vallejo didn’t stay back. Almost immediately, Urzaiz again entered to finish off and received a punch from the goalie, which would normally be taken as an example of a penalty.
At times the match was balanced, even though Recreativo, and in spite of both goals scored, had trouble approaching the rival’s area; a fact that could perhaps be the most negative aspect of the first home victory. As the fact would show that in the whole first half they only approached on one occasion; after a free kick, but that besides being deflected by Aranzubia it was invalidated as an offside.
Athletic Club needed that second goal and it deserved it. In the minute 26, one of the plays in which the ball circulated with criterion Yeste passed back to Javi Martinez, this one, at the edge of the area, centred with his left and Urzaiz scored an incredible goal; very similar to the one scored by the famous Cruyff against Atlético Madrid in the seventies, between the goalie and the post the Dutchman and over the goalie the one of Urzaiz, and similar to another one by another Dutchman, Van Basten.
Two to nil and the lack of habit gave way for the generalized desire for things to continue as such until the break, after a distant attempt by Expósito in the umpteenth diagonal ball that, on this occasion, Lopez Vallejo cleared with his foot. Nevertheless, today Athletic demonstrated the importance of having both wings operative. Down the left a good deep ball by Yeste to Gabilondo who controlled and dribbled and Urzaiz did the rest from where he doesn’t pardon. Only a hecatomb could vary the course of the match.
In the break, Marcelino indicated Beto and Marcelino as ‘guilty’ and in their place Arzo and Rosu came on, changing Aitor to the left wing. Without coming out biting, far from it, Recreativo found a goal in the minute 55, scored by Uche after finishing off a centre rather easily from the left. For a while, the ghosts returned to San Mamés. Almost immediately the penance of the rival midfielders continued, with Pablo Amo’s injury and substitution by Bouzón, while Garmendia replaced Yeste. He pulled it off at the first attempt, in the minute 59 when he intercepted a defective pass from the rival, faced another one with a tunnel attempt and when it seemed that his struggle for the ball was in vain, Lopez Vallejo’s clearing with his foot bounced on his leg and, this time it was certain, the match was settled. Those are the small details.
After an attempt by Arzo with a header in the minute 62, came another chapter of Gabilondo’s relationship with the wood after he struck his third ball onto the post or crossbar so far this Liga. His phenomenal volley deserved greater compensation.
With the match downhill, Amorebieta came in for a once again generous Javi Martinez in effort and recovery, minute 73, ‘debuting’ in the midfield and Bouzón had to retire injured in the minute 76, leaving his team in numerical inferiority. The pace descended considerably and the overall scorer of the night, Urzaiz, left his place to Llorente in the minute 82. An option in the way of a headed removed from under the woods by a visiting defender, preceded the second visitor goal after an own goal by Sarriegi. The defender holds a peculiar record: in the only two matches that Athletic Club has won in the fourteen matchdays of the Liga he has scored… in his own goal.
At the end of the match, satisfaction ruled; no matter how much the rival coach, Marcelino, attributed the defeat or Athletic’s first home victory to his demerits. It’s what is beautiful about this sport: each one can see the same thing in a different way. For us it is a very important step, offering in San Mamés part of what is expected of the team and, as we said earlier, when the small details inclined the balance against us, is there is still a large margin for improvement, even though it is easier to do so with points.