Athletic Club lost to Osasuna by 0-3, the goals were scored by Muñoz (penalty), David…
Athletic Club lost to Osasuna by 0-3, the goals were scored by Muñoz (penalty), David López and Izquierdo, a slip-up which complicates even more the difficult situation we are in and highlights the match tendency of the last few weeks: beating Athletic, especially at San Mamés, is an all too easy task if we consider the risk and the fact that we had a solid team only a few weeks ago. Lately the rival teams don’t have to do too much in order to break the Red-White morale along with their resilience on field, which usually falls apart as soon as the first goal is scored against them.
Saturday’s match, had the right atmosphere in order to climb out of the hole and the supporters got into the match right from the start, this initiative was Red-White, but the team couldn’t reproduce the same initiative when it came to playing against a rival who had set up camp behind and who were just waiting for their opportunity to counterattack. After the Aduriz header in the 2nd minute the team continued to control the pitch, but a little bit later a long distance shot at goal was taken by Iturriaga which surprised, to a certain degree, Ricardo in the 19th minute. Except for the goal scored by Soldado which was annulled as a result of the player being offside, Osasuna didn’t need to do much else to get ahead on the scoreboard. And they almost did in the 29th minute when Soldado and Amorebieta were fighting it out in the Red-White area. The forward spun round and fell to the ground without hardly being touched, straight out of the book, and this was enough for the referee to award a penalty for the umpteenth time this season, a set back which puts our salvation at risk. The penalty goal was scored by Muñoz and the situation started to look grim. Soldado had more opportunities in the confusion that reigned in the minutes that followed, a header by Javi Martínez who intercepted a magnificent pass to the centre by Expósito was caught by Ricardo in the 41st minute, and this was our only saving grace during this half.
As one would expect, at least, from the lesson taught by Betis or Nastic. In theory, while there’s only a small difference, just like the case in Vigo, the chance to equalize the match is tangible. However, not even in the worst case scenario did we expect the second rival goal to be scored in the 46th minute, the defence’s indecision led to the goal being scored by David López. The goal-scorer had been sent to cover the right wing after Juanlu replaced Juanfran during the halftime break.
The effortless 0-2 result led to some changes being made by our side, in minute 51 of the game, Urzaiz and Garmendia were sent in to replace Gabilondo and Iturriaga as well as some changes regarding field position: Garmendia was sent to cover the midfield are, Yeste to the left wing, Aduriz to the right and Javi Martínez and Urzaiz as a duo up front.
Nevertheless, Athletic had burnt their boats: in the 55th minute, once again, a Javi Martínez header was repelled by Ricardo, which then hit the crossbar, and two minutes later Amorebieta took a shot at goal with his head under pressure, but this was caught by the goalkeeper. Puñal stepped in for Muñoz in the 60th minute and in the 65th minute Etxeberria replaced Yeste. To make things worse, the rival right wing player, Izquierdo, who isn’t what you’d call a striker, scored an easy goal in the 71st minute which sealed our fate in spite of last season’s precedent when Athletic beat Osasuna by 4-3.
A tragic night, which wasn’t helped by the appearance on field of an obviously drunk person, who had to spend the night in a police cell. There was only time left to see the uncalled penalties for example, when Amorebieta was pushed in the 81st minute. This penalty wouldn’t have changed things much but goes to show that we are not given anything not even the time. Towards the end of the game Sarriegi and Aduriz were sanctioned, the yellow card given to Aduriz could have been avoided by the player and the referee blew the final whistle in the 90th minute with the match outcome being (0-3), the worst part now is the danger of resignation when in reality our team still has a chance which is real and attainable, and we hope that the goals scored at other stadiums do not rub salt into their wounds and that our team can respond and respond well.
A special mention should go to our club’s supporters (as well as the Osasuna fans who chanted our name at the end of the match). We’ll never get tired of repeating the importance of the public’s support, it is logical and we understand that the fans in the stands are suffering because of the bad results, the anxiety caused by the uncertainty of the club’s future, the sadness felt after a loss and the anger felt because of the image given. The feeling of giving it your all only to have the door slammed in your face.
The image of all those at San Mamés singing the team song in unison was the only memorable moment of the encounter. An image that is worth repeating at every match, and which should guide us in times of trouble, and should be used to unite and to show our support to all the players on an equal basis during the difficult phase they are going through, and the players should also do a bit more so that the worst predictions don’t come true.
Disappointed, but with their heads up high and their hope intact, the team must find a way, whereas the rest of us should help and urge them on with constructive criticism, hard to find but much needed, in order to face what lies ahead. United we can show our team that they are not alone.