The match between RCD Mallorca and Athletic Club finished in a nil-nil draw. To obtain…
The match between RCD Mallorca and Athletic Club finished in a nil-nil draw. To obtain an away point has to always be understood as a positive result and helps in the still tight race from the eighth position to the twentieth on the table. It also happens on numerous occasions that a match offers infinity of prisms with which to analyse what occurred.
At the Ono Estadi, however, we risked to choose the valuation that, without a doubt, more unanimity will arouse: Athletic Club has not known how to win the match after remaining in numerical superiority since in the minute 32 the midfielder Nunes twice called prostitute the mother of one of the assistants.
A circumstance, that of not taking advantage of the superiority, which also repeated itself last season at the same scenario and that on that occasion cost us the Copa elimination.
Instead of reaffirming the virtues, several and varied, that until that moment Athletic had shown on the field, our team lost its place in numerical superiority and, except for a couple of flashes, has been incapable of knowing how to defeat a team that, on the other hand, has amply demonstrated this season that it knows how to play, and even how to turn the scoreboard around, with less players on the field than their rival as it did without going further against Valladolid and Getafe, and even having the occasion to demonstrate it against our team in the last minute of the match.
The draw at nil feels like a fair result but leaves the negative consequences of the loss of Iraola for five yellow cards and several bruised up players that we hope can be ready to receive Murcia in what will be Athletic’s last match in 2007.
Comparing the starting eleven of the last away match (0-3 in Valencia) Ocio and Javi Martinez replaced Ustaritz and Orbaiz who were starters then, but the spirit with which the match was confronted was similar; order, good pressure, calm, in order to find optimal chances, and lots of mobility.
Mallorca didn’t know how to respond and the first twenty minutes have been a Rojiblanco monologue with numerous approaches. Among them stood out a ball by Etxeberria that Webo averted in the 3rd minute and a direct free-kick from David Lopez deflected by Lux in the minute 5. If there was to have been a goal, this one seemed destined to be on Athletic’s side in yesterday’s blank scoreboard, but out of the blue an isolated play put Mallorca back in the fight.
It was a header by Varela to the wood from a cross by Ibagaza in the minute 21 and the contest was balanced. Güiza finished off against Webo’s body in the minute 25 and in the 26th Etxeberria gave the vermilions as well as he got by saving a header from Pereyra from under the woods. That’s when Nunes was booked with the red card in the minute 32, although it is fair to emphasize that Webo should have seen his second yellow in the minute 23 when he clearly blocked Aranzubia’s goal kick. It was too much or too soon.
Mallorca fell back and remodelled its lines, changing Varela to the right wing and Hector to the midfield position. Amorebieta had his chance with a header in the minute 34, Webo and Güiza responded in Aranzubia’s area and although before the break a couple of approaches with Gabilondo and Etxeberria as protagonists seeded panic in the stands, the later confirmed sensation told us that Athletic couldn’t find the exact point to confront the eleven against ten.
At the start up, Del Horno replaced Koikili to look for greater depth down his flank, even though Athletic also assumed a greater risk when it came to stopping Jonás, yesterday’s best intoned Mallorca player. With some or others, Caparrós’ players backslid in the error of searching for long balls in detriment of the wings and have practically ignored the balls rejected at the edge of the rival’s area.
For Llorente it was the first occasion of the second half when he finished off a good cross by Gabilondo from the left against Lux’s knee, in the minute 50. It was a corner, but not called, like the one that a minute later appeared to be a penalty for pushing by Amorebieta on Güiza. Güiza himself ran into Aranzubia with his chest in the minute 55. Things didn’t look well. Just in case Manzano decided to introduce Basinas for Güiza at the hour of play with the purpose of strengthening the midfield, but the truth is the defence rested all it wanted. Meanwhile, on the attack the difficulties were greater.
Susaeta came in for Gabilondo in the minute 65, with David Lopez changing from the right to the left wing. Shortly after Ustaritz substituted an injured Ocio, even though in the end both players finished the match with contusions to their left leg quadriceps. In the host’s squad, Arango substituted Ibagaza in the minute 82.
The jump in the story reminds us that there haven’t been any truly outstanding occasions and the minutes passed between Mallorca’s delays and Athletic’s inability to do damage. Etxeberria had a chance to finish off in the minute 84, but Lux deflected well with his hand. Susaeta’s shot on goal was not as precise as expected in the minute 88 and everything seemed headed to a goalless draw.
In injury time, Jonás once again accelerated and after a vertiginous slalom he passed to Basinas, who ran into Ustaritz when the goal was sung. In a reflection of how cyclical the match has been, beyond the nil-nil, the defender did as Webo did in the beginning, to get in the way and prevent the rival goal. It would have been to believe in bizarre things.
Athletic did not deserve a defeat, but to win it’s necessary to have clearer ideas and be conscious that without work and constant struggles it’s impossible to achieve things. Let’s see if in the next match we can at least take off some of the weight we are carrying in San Mamés.