Athletic Club lost against Villarreal by 3-1 and will have to suffer until the last…
Athletic Club lost against Villarreal by 3-1 and will have to suffer until the last match in order to achieve its goal of avoiding relegation. Iraola put Athletic Club ahead and Forlán, twice, then Ustaritz in an own goal scored the goals for Villarreal.
Until the last moment! Although Athletic can only depend on itself to avoid relegation on Sunday, 17 June, at 21:00 hours in San Mamés, against Levante; and the adequate preparation for the match will have to be the only objective for EVERYONE with no excuses.
Even though that in view of this upcoming match one might think all’s been said, or it goes without saying, or that there is no possible doubt about the unswerving determination of the fans in their support for the team as they’ve once again demonstrated today, it wouldn´t be much to ask to intensify the effort even more considering the continuity in First Division is at play; that not the essence or the history of the organization, which is deeper and goes back in time beyond the participation in the Liga competition and has been and always will be above the sporting ups and downs that have enriched it.
With regards to the defeat, the truth is that our team faced the encounter with the demanded and expected game and will. Unfortunately, a hurricane is not necessary to exasperate or move from Athletic from its location and today an erroneous decision by the referee and his assistant was enough to throw off centre a team that, not because it’s obvious should we avoid it, if it is down among other things is because of its collective fragility before the smallest adversity. If we add misfortune to this, we have the reasons for the comfortable local victory without having put forth a great effort.
The Athletic Club came out strong, pressing high with a well-worked 4-4-2 which kept, except in a header by Guille Franco in minute 17 which fell wide, the ball away from Aranzubia’s area. On the contrary, the first warning was given by yesterday’s right winger Javi González with a tight cross from the right, Aduriz made Viera work in the minute 20 with a header and in the 22 a volley from the same forward was controlled and sent into the goal by Iraola. A prize for the good work and a door opened to hope.
Far from being frightened and conscious of that they were playing a good match, the rojiblancos held their positions on the field and had Villarreal with their hands tied. Even Joseba Etxeberria was able to put the game back on track in the minute 30, but his cross was too high and Viera was there to save it.
On the contrary, in the minute 35 an isolated play with a long shot to Pires and Ustaritz charging him outside the area (if there had been an infraction it would have been outside) was turned into a penalty call by the referee and one of the assistants who extend themselves aiding Athletic; and goal scored by Forlán.
It was a hard blow, both unjust and undeserved; considering it was one of the best match beginnings by our team. Nevertheless, the panorama got worse three minutes later when the Villarreal scored its second goal, also work of Forlán, on this occasion by beating Aranzubia. The goal didn’t originate from an excellent pass or a wonderful collective play, but from a deflection that bounced off Murillo’s shinbone, though unaware, and which left Forlán all alone before our goalie: 2-1 even though it was one of those plays known as a “lucky break”.
Without seeing other results, the second half opened with the hope of obtain the equalizer, but this immediately dissipated when Ustaritz headed the ball in his own goal in the minute 50. How will the team be saved before the last matchday? It’s difficult with the accumulation of nonsense and misfortunes accrued during this season. And as a sample another button: in the history of the Spanish Liga no team has ever scored so many own goals as Athletic has in the current season.
Villarreal was swimming like a fish in water on the counterattack, without rushing, but moving the ball nonstop and with criterion, which made Mané’s triple attempt to change the order of his players and thus the power to create more danger rather ineffective. Urzaiz came in for Javi Martinez in the minute 60, changing Etxeberria to the right wing and Iraola to the double pivot. In the minute 72, Tiko replaced Casas and took up the double pivot position, while Javi González changed to left wing and Iraola to the right wing. Finally Llorente replaced Aduriz in the minute 74, without changes in the tactical disposition.
A header by Urzaiz which Viera stopped in the minute 62 and an individual play by Llorente that ended in a corner in the minute 79 have been the highlights for the rojiblancos. In the must, the logically opened holes (Mati Fdez. had the clearest option in the minute 92) and the situation of impotence that was also felt from a rojiblanca audience that was between sad, resigned and stupefied by the negative marker and because the local fans cheered all the goals on the video scoreboard, even those that could move them away from UEFA spots.
The same was happening to Athletic and until that moment all the possibilities shuffled during the week didn’t seem to take a real nature; even that which would most likely happen, that which spoke of playing it all on Sunday against Levante. There are no more options left; the match will be heads or tails, life or death, for permanence. For that reason it’s not worth putting salt in the wound this week as to what could have been and wasn’t, instead we should find a remedy so that the defects don’t appear or that they show the least possible; an unequivocal bet for a victory that we should and will achieve together. Come on, Athletic!