Athletic Club has lost 2-1 against Espanyol. The local goals were the work of Tamudo…
Athletic Club has lost 2-1 against Espanyol. The local goals were the work of Tamudo and Aitor Ocio in an own goal, whereas Gabilondo put our team ahead in the 2nd minute after a long serve from Amorebieta, headed by Aduriz into the penalty area, where Etxeberria was unable to finish it off, but Gabilondo was there to place the ball just out of Kameni’s reach.
Shortly before the break, in the minute 39, Riera slipped down the left and his latter cross was finished off by Tamudo with the tip of his heel, establishing the draw. When this seemed the most probable end result, Aitor Ocio deflected the ball toward his own goal pumping Clemente’s area. It was the minute 90, and more than the lost point, that also but mostly, the team perhaps especially felt the jab of desolation after their hard work at the Lluis Companys against such a lively team. With things as they are, in view of Tuesday’s Copa match, besides replenishing our strength we’ll also have to recover our courage.
With respect to the previous Liga encounter, Athletic only made one name change and two position changes. Amorebieta entered the starting line-up to replace Susaeta, changing Ustaritz to the right wing and Iraola to the right midfield. Since Gabilondo scored just as he got off the bus and in view of the developments, the debate was on; did Athletic score too soon? There are two theories up for debate; the NO theory, because in soccer, as in any sport, it’s never too soon to score. The argument defends itself. The other is the YES theory. On the basis of which, Espanyol became stronger due to the inertia of the result, but mostly because Athletic fell too far back and gave control of the ball over, with or without the excuse of the marker.
The rojiblancos ran after the ball for way too long, almost the whole first half. The local options weren’t excessive, or obvious, but Valverde’s pupils knew that Athletic’s longest ball possession was barely thirty seconds, which contributed to tranquillity when it came to organizing a new attack on a team that has lots of quality in its boots. The match was not two-legged, which is why there haven’t been many opportunities on Espanyol’s part: Valdo shot a good volley high in the minute 9 and in the 17th Tamudo, leaning left, shot a low shot which Iraizoz saved. Athletic kept away the danger, but in the minute 39, Espanyol took advantage of the smallest of misalignments. Riera, who is making good connections lately, perfectly centred for Tamudo who got past the defender and with a tip of the heel established the equaliser. The blow for Athletic has been severe and from then and until the break Espanyol enjoyed a header by Tamudo and an excellent volley by De la Peña, a shot which was blocked by a defender.
When it appeared that the second half was going to be a monolog of the team that was going from less to more, Athletic took a step ahead. In the names David Lopez came in for Orbaiz and in the positions the rojiblancos were moved further up, they pressed better and levelled the game on approaches to the rival area, recoveries and ball possession. For Aduriz, his first option was a stolen ball in the area, but his shot went high in the minute 50. Riera sent a volley high in the 57th, but the match was levelled and Athletic even took control of a few rebounds from both goalies.
In the middle of a desert of occasions Valverde brought in Jonatas to replace Valdo, changing Luís García to the right and the recently incorporated to the midfield. It was the minute 63, and at the same time Caparrós introduced Llorente for Aduriz. In his first move, the forward from Irun passed with a header to Joseba Etxeberria, but he was unable to connect with the ball. In the last local drive, Riera shot a flat curved ball that barely went wide in the minute 73, a soft back kick that Luis García shot straight into Iraizoz’ gloves in the 74th minute and a great volley turned away to corner by Iraizoz in the minute 85. Prieto substituted Etxeberria in the minute 88 and everything was inevitably leading to a distribution of points, which never happened.
Just at the ninety minute mark a deflection from the rear of Athletic’s area was brought back into play by Clemente where Ocio stuck his leg in to ward off the danger, with such rotten luck that the ball hit his shinbone and looped just over Iraizoz and straight into the net. The locals were probably thinking that it’s never too late to score; a question, of whether to draw or win at the bell, which appears to have become a custom on the visits to Montjuic, beyond the legend about the ‘star’ that shines over the former Athletic Club coach, Ernesto Valverde.
And the points, as happens with luck, have to be found in the Liga, which appears to be ever so even. Once the first Copa leg is resolved, which should help the team to recover it’ll be the turn to defeat Depor; whether the goal is scored sooner or later, as long as it’s scored in the rival’s goal.