Athletic Club - Real Zaragoza
Matchday 3

Athletic Club - Real Zaragoza

Athletic Club
Athletic Club
Real Zaragoza
Real Zaragoza
  • 9' Susaeta
  • Diego Milito 16'

LocationSan Mamés , Bilbo

Athletic Club 1 Zaragoza 1: Result and deservedness, go hand in hand

Athletic Club and Real Zaragoza reached a one-all draw at San Mamés. Susaeta and Diego…

Athletic Club

Athletic Club and Real Zaragoza reached a one-all draw at San Mamés. Susaeta and Diego Milito were the goal scorers of a match where one could say that the result and deservedness of both teams went practically hand in hand. The Red-Whites took the initiative and were more dangerous in the first half, whereas Zaragoza applied the pressure more during the second half, despite the fact that Joseba Etxeberria, who played his 400th league match, could have scored the second goal in the 91st minute, but César spoiled his attempt at goal. Although we should be satisfied with the second point, we should emphasize that the team were more consistent, a facet of their game which is on the rise.

The 4-4-2 Red-White formation ran onto the field in a match which saw the return of Del Horno to San Mamés, the return of Ocio after having been sanctioned, the reappearance of Orbaiz, who was injured in December of 2006, in the league and the debut of Susaeta as one of the starting eleven players in an official competition. Not a bad line up at all.

After contemplating how Zaragoza were threatening to monopolize the ball during the first three minutes, Athletic took possession of the ball and moved it around with ability and speed or speed and ability, putting the rival in a tight spot which reminded us of the time when the start of the encounter was a synonym of relentless attack by the locals. Five minutes into the game Llorente received a great pass from Iraola, but instead of firing way he opted for swerving past César who was lucky and was able to take the ball off him.

In the 9th minute the pressure applied in our opponent’s goal area led to the ball being stolen and David López being brought to the ground near the goal area. The foul was skilfully taken by Susaeta, who has scored his second goal in his two appearances in First Division. Not bad for a player who has come up through the ranks. Athletic had the cat in the bag and Llorente also gave César a work out one minute later. Our second goal seemed to be closer than the equalizing one, despite the warning by Oliviera whose header sailed over the crossbar. This was then followed by our team losing the ball in what seemed to be a routine pass in the centre of the field which allowed our rival to counterattack quickly the result of which was a line shot taken by Diego Milito who brought about the draw.

Despite the blow, the weight of the match was still on the shoulders of the hosts, who were able to keep Zaragoza away from the dangerous areas and who continued to hurt them down the right wing. The match was a high paced affair, but without any clear goal scoring opportunities, perhaps with the exception of Susaeta’s shot at goal in the 37th minute which was caught by César.

The half time break was drawing near and towards the latter stages of the first half our two strikers each received a yellow card. The first half ended with a total of eight cautionary cards being given.

Perhaps that’s why Ion Vélez replaced Llorente after the break; however the newcomer was soon to notice that the wind was now blowing in the opposite direction. During the first fifteen minutes of the second half the clash had been almost exclusively monopolized by Oliveira and Iraizoz. In the 47th minute a shot at goal by Oliveira was caught by Iraizoz; in the 50th minute a long distance shot at goal was stopped by our goalie; two minutes later a shot at goal by Oliveira struck Ocio and in the 62nd minute Oliveira’s attempt at goal was deflected to corner by Iraizoz. What’s more, Iraizoz saved the day in the 66th minute after having caught a great shot at goal by Diego Milito. On behalf of Athletic we can only mention the shot at goal by Vélez in the 59th minute which ended up being repelled.

The tiredness of both teams started to take its toll. Víctor Fernández decided to send Zapater in for Matuzalem and afterwards sent Generelo in to replace Gabi. By then Etxeberria had already replaced Aduriz and Milito’s shot at goal had already gone astray. Ironically the visiting team dominated and controlled the game, however, right until the very end the best goal scoring opportunities belonged to the local team nevertheless Athletic were unable to get it right when it came to choosing the final pass and perhaps were a bit hasty in some of their moves.

Susaeta’s foul shot missed its mark in the 77th minute, Amorebieta’s shot at goal went high in the 82nd minute after having made an individual run and Joseba Etxeberria had the best opportunity of the match to round off his achievements record and give Athletic the three points in the 91st minute. He was able to control the ball from Susaeta and what’s more was able to take a shot at goal which was deflected to corner by César. We were so close to being victorious, but we’ll have to wait for the next clash, against Levante in Valencia, let’s see if we can do it.

In the meantime, a manifestation which unfortunately needs to be repeated. Who benefits from objects being thrown onto the field? Athletic Club certainly does not of course, and this practice is of no value to the spectacle of football at all. In the match report the referee pointed out that an unidentified object struck the goalkeeper César, who has no apparent injuries and that almost throughout the entire second half period papers, sandwiches and other types of objects were being thrown onto the field from the stands. If only we could do ourselves a favour and stop this useless practice.