Athletic Club and Deportivo have drawn at two in San Mamés. Barragán, in an own…
Athletic Club and Deportivo have drawn at two in San Mamés. Barragán, in an own goal, and David Lopez scored the goals for our team while Riki and Taborda scored for the visitors. Just as had taken place on the previous matchday, at the last minute the points escaped us and though what happened was not identical, in both cases it’s left a bitter feeling, perhaps more so today that the team showed more merits.
In addition to the loss of one point or adding another, the future of this very tight competition will tell us, after this match several topics, clichés or urban legends have fallen. Call it what you would.
For example; we’ve heard that Deportivo plays far better on away matches, with a forceful attack, etc. It placed the bus, as almost all teams do, in front of their goal hoping to surprise the counterattack.
Another cliché; Athletic plays the waiting game in San Mamés. Well, today, the relation of players that came on, whose fundamental characteristics is neither their defensive work nor their Stakhanovism moves: Llorente, Etxeberria, David Lopez, Yeste, Gabilondo, and Iraola in the back… with Orbaiz-Yeste on the double pivot. The team reached more balls than ever, they moved it down more and had more ball possessions than ever, with the marker against and in favour. On the other hand, everything has a ‘but’, it couldn’t, it didn’t know how to nor did it choose the right mechanisms to abort the only two shots on goal by the opponent. And that too is a collective responsibility, like the virtues demonstrated. With what it could have been and the particular factors we’ll have to suffer the consequences in this sport, where mathematics and other exact sciences have very little room.
And there is yet another legend. Lotina’s team had warned of its intention to not throw the ball out of play. Another lie or half the truth, because it did so to ‘kill’ the match with the 2-2, yet it didn’t do it seconds before the draw with a rojiblanco down on the ground or when Coloccini kept taking chances at the raffle for a card after nailing Llorente with his cleats. By the way, Coloccini saw his first card in the minute 80! By then, he should have already held, at least, another two yellows, the one in the second half and the first also for a hard foul on Llorente. Running that same luck, that of not getting booked, were Sergio in the first half and Etxeberria in the second.
These are the topics that disappeared in a match that Athletic confronted with serenity, patiently moving the ball down both sidelines and taking control of the match as it couldn’t be any other way in San Mamés, apart from exceptions that will fill a sheet. A couple of interesting associations were generated when it came to moving the ball; for example, Yeste, Gabilondo and Koikili on one side with Iraola, Orbaiz, Etxeberria, and David Lopez on the other. Deportivo stayed back, with increasing difficulties to combine and get the ball, abusing of long balls facing the midfielders. Our team combined, but it’s also true that they lacked something in the ending pass.
In the minute 11, a hand span was enough for Iraola to avoid seeing a perfect kick from outside the area getting lodged into the net; though he had greater luck in one of the several centres, since, in the minute 22, Barragán introduced the ball in his own goal just over Aouate after trying to clear it with a header.
Lotina’s men didn’t create danger, not before nor after the goal, although Athletic took a risky backward step for a few minutes, more so for a team that doesn’t enjoy many intimidating tasks and much less with the players it had on the field. Nevertheless, the stomach virus Manuel Pablo suffered and made him swiftly walk to the bathrooms allowed Athletic to retake control until the break, without creating problems, but without suffering them either. In the minute 40, supposedly suffering from the same virus, Xisco left his position to Bodipo.
The second half didn’t bring about too many changes, but Athletic persevered on its intention to play in the rival field and they achieved it. In the minute 53, Yeste header, Gabilondo perfectly controlled in the left, his back pass was controlled as he could by Llorente who was able with his ‘assist’ to reach David Lopez’ boots who, on his part, after a lengthy control, displaced Aouate and scored with the tip of his right foot, in what is to be his goal scoring debut in an official match.
Two – Nil. Almost immediately Riki replaced Juan Rodriguez and, in the 58th, Taborda came in for Barragán; a double substitution that turned out rather well for Deportivo, seeing the result. Guardado moved to the right, Riki was placed to the left with De Guzmán on the right flank and Bodipo with Taborda in the front. From the start, the change didn’t make much impact, but the play in the minute 62 in which Riki falls, after receiving a blow from a ball and shooting upright ready to attack Yeste; a double yellow card and centred foul that, like last season, has in the end resulted decisive for us to lose two points. A lash that exceeds limits, at first sight distressed, and Deportivo was back in the match.
Athletic didn’t take that much feared step backwards; nobody can blame them, nor did they suffer the rival’s attack. However, it still had ball control, moving it with criteria and except for a couple of approaches and a wide header by Bodipo in the minute 74, most arrivals and shots on goal were rojiblanco. Namely, in the minute 67 Llorente finished off with a volley, but wide; in the minute 71 Susaeta, who had shortly before replaced Etxeberria, shot straight into Aouate’s hands; in the minute 74, Aduriz came in for Llorente (this time he went out among applause) and in the 79th a good team effort shot on goal David Lopez which Aouate trapped.
With the noble idea of closing down the left flank to the attacks by Manuel Pablo and Riki, Ustaritz came in for David Lopez and almost no one had the doubt that the match would languish with the two to one. Sadly, the equaliser came down the opposite wing and with the game clock in the minute 90, when a centre by Guardado assisted Taborda who prevailed over Amorebieta, Ocio (will not play in Valencia due to 5 five yellows) and Aranzubia. Even at two, a couple of lost points and interesting proposal when it comes to playing. After all, it’s the eternal debate: ‘decent’ soccer or points? Both almost always walk hand-in-hand, but to achieve this is rather complicated. A good opportunity to open a breach in the table has been lost, but soccer gives and takes without warning.