Athletic Club has obtained its second away win after defeating Valladolid by 1-2, with goals…
Athletic Club has obtained its second away win after defeating Valladolid by 1-2, with goals by Aduriz, who’s already scored four in the Liga, whereas the local goal was the work of Víctor after converting a penalty. An important victory that should serve to deviate any doubts regarding the team, though it still has to overcome the challenge of winning in San Mamés; which will put them back on track and allow them to play with less burdens, a circumstance which should also help to increase the differences with regards to the danger zone.
Our team hasn’t been alone in Valladolid and the great response by the thousands of fans has given the first push. The team got on the wave from the start with an offensive predisposition. Etxeberria took the centre kick and yielded the ball to Gabilondo who advanced and passed the ball to the area where Aduriz shot on goal but it bounced off the post. It wasn’t exactly what was written in the script and that baffled Valladolid, although Capdevila made Iraizoz work in the 7th minute when the goalie had to deflect the ball with his fingertips. Nevertheless, Athletic faithfully followed its beginnings, as it did against Levante or Villarreal, and not even a minute later Gabilondo again got past a violet-and-white defender. Aduriz once again got past Garcia Calvo and from a difficult angle, and under the goalkeeper’s legs, beat Butelle.
The local fans were all over the French goalkeeper which increased the local’s edginess. Alvaro tried to surprise Iraizoz from the distance and a pumped up ball, but Etxeberria created more danger after receiving a new pass from Gabilondo behind the rival’s defensive line. There is a doubt as to whether Butelle’s entrance is a foul and, if so, whether it was inside or outside the area. There’s no need for a debate however, because the referee didn’t call anything.
Amorebieta had to leave his post to Ustaritz in the minute 23, so that composure wouldn’t be complete. Our team continued trying to do damage, but without depth, although at least and almost immediately the encounter got back on track with a free-kick taken by David Lopez and perfectly finished off by Aduriz with a header in the minute 31.
Mendilibar removed Borja a few seconds later and Vivar Dorado’s entrance revitalized the pucelanos. Shortly after, the referee, also in a doubtful play, ruled out the header scored by Ogbeche, for having leaned on Ocio. In the minute 37, Iraizoz turned aside a header by Rafa, and David Lopez and Etxeberria could have saved us some suffering when of the restarted, but they were unable to introduce the ball in the net in the minute 43. The worst thing that happened before the break was the fact that Javi Martinez and Orbaiz were both removed due to individual yellow cards, decreasing the pressure capacity in view of the second half, in addition to Valladolid tightening theirs.
The second half, however, lived a calm beginning. With no local options, and fans more concerned in the many aspects of the car race than cheering their team on, Athletic wasn’t doing any real damage. Vélez came in for a hobbling Aduriz in the minute 60 and Rafa was booked with a yellow card in the minute 60 and the referee didn’t dare book him with the yellow in the 76th after striking Vélez in the face with his boots.
In these cases, with a sluggish match, incapacity in itself gives opponents wings. One play is all it takes, one detail, and more so if Athletic is in the way, for all the alarms to be activated. Ogbeche got hold of a ball on the edge of the area in the minute 71, penetrated and Koikili touched him just enough for the referee to indicate a penalty. Víctor scored the 1-2 and Mendilibar introduced some changes: Kike in for Garcia Calvo, changing to a 3-4-3 which pushed our team back. Kike, Ogbeche and Víctor played as strikers and although David Lopez almost scored in the minute 78, the final minutes were full of suffering with quite a few balls hanging in the rojiblanca area.
Murillo came in for Etxeberria to bolster the midfield while Martinez moved ahead some meters, almost next to Ion Vélez. An more and more tired Ogbeche tried a volley in the minute 80; in the 81st, Sesma came in for Capdevila to put more pressure on the flank; in the 82nd, a shot by Kike slams into Ocio and the corner is conceded, Iraizoz saved the ball from the goalmouth after Víctor’s free-kick (which by the way was kicked from where the pucelanos wanted); Víctor once again shot on goal with a header in the 89th and Marcos, also with a header, did so in the minute 90. The injury time has been long, but the final result -cards apart- has been wonderful.
All there’s left to overcome is Saturday’s home challenge in San Mamés. A challenge that not because it’s known does it make things easier, but, who said it was going to be like this in a more and more stable competition? Let’s hope we can achieve a second consecutive victory against Betis and with it our Athletic can relieve itself from some of its burdens. Meanwhile the return of thousands of fans will this time be dream-like.