Athletic Club and Murcia has drawn at on in San Mamés. Koikili and Baiano, from…
Athletic Club and Murcia has drawn at on in San Mamés. Koikili and Baiano, from a penalty, scored the goals; a draw to see off 2007 and thank goodness because the outcome could have been much worse. The rojiblancos have been more accurate, with better placement and more ideas during the first half, whereas the visitors have done a lot more in the second half to take the three points.
In the umpteenth meet without winning in San Mamés, Athletic hasn’t found its way more than with a dropper and that is just not enough in such an even Liga. It is necessary to do more or have the unbalancing power which our equipment still lacks to date.
With the rest of results on hand at kick-off, a victory would have raised our team to the ninth position on the table, three points away from relegation, however the pages on the calendar, or the whole calendar, will change to the fourteenth position and one point from the bottom. All this in a hard battle with another eleven teams that would make the full dozen were it not for the fact that Levante appears to be out of the fight. To round things off, we should stress that Athletic is the third team with less goals scored against them in the category, behind Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, and sixth when it comes to scoring goals. Our next opponent, Racing de Santander, have similar figures, although the Cantabrians will receive us from the sixth position.
Beyond the cold numbers and the poor performance of our team, unfortunately we once again have to cite the unwise performance by the referees which, at times, competed with the little game exhibited by the competitors. With the same strength that we wished for a round match, we insist, we yearned for a praise-worthy arbitration intervention and a summary of the match without having to go through the difficulty having to criticize a series of contradictions or errors.
It will have to wait till 2008.
In that strictly related to soccer, after a first few minutes with Murcian control, Athletic adjusted the pressure and decided on a high game pace until turning it unidirectional. Notario easily caught a shot by David Lopez in the minute 6 and from that point the rojiblancos completed a good quarter hour. With the bases laid on good pressure and certain superiority in the midfield, ball stealing took place in hot zones. The result of one of them was a good collective play that culminated with a great centre by Gabilondo in the minute 14, but Llorente’s header across from the far post ran into the near wood.
It was the clearest of options, but there were no more opportunities in spite of the continued local control. The pace was decreasing and only the strategic plays increased the sense of danger. They were well defended by the green ‘paprika-men’, but a free-kick by Yeste struck Movilla’s hands all-too clearly. Penalty in injury time of the first half, though the celebration had wait, since the 1-0 didn’t go up on the marker until Koikili smashed the ball into net, on the day of his birthday, after Orbaiz’ shot rebounded from Notario.
The match was already downhill, but Athletic did hardly anything in the second half and neither did the referee, nothing positive anyway. After an offside, doubtful at least, called on Llorente soon after the re-start and a mass counterattack by Athletic that portrayed a team divided in two, Murcia dedicated itself to our goal. First to request a supposed hand in a shot from outside the area; this obviously made an impression on the referee who at first change indicated a penalty against Athletic. A high ball in the rojiblanco area caught Ocio glancing at the sky in search of the ball and the forward collided with him; strict penalty, light penalty or non-existent penalty? What is certain is that Baiano equalized the match by the minute 54. And thank goodness that Murcia was unsuccessful on the rest of opportunities it had.
Athletic disappeared, the referee often called fouls that weren’t and let those that were pass (Llorente began to carry an all-too-heavy burden) and at the hands of anger, confusion and misplacement, impotence began to settle in. The changes, mostly offensive, hardly corrected anything, because the hole was a few meters back, in the endless and empty space of the midfield where Murcia was now recovering infinity of balls and easily playing the feet. Aduriz came in for Etxeberria in the 60th minute and Susaeta in for Gabilondo in the 65th. The scheme didn’t change, but Murcia began to create almost continuous danger.
To start with, in the minute 65 Aranzubia had to come off his line to head off a deep through ball and the rebound fell to Abel’s feet who, as it came, he chose to loop the ball over the goalie but it hit the crossbar; in the minute 67, a header by Regueiro was parried by Aranzubia and in the latter corner Ochoa barely missed wide with a header.
Athletic’s response was timid, by means of a ball that Llorente almost took before Notario in the 71st minute and a header shot wide by Aduriz in the 74. Murcia made its first change in the minute 76, with Goitom leaving his position to Iñigo and revitalizing the visitor’s offence. In the 79th, Abel shot wide; in the 81st, Regueiro crossed his centre shot in excess and in the 83rd Iñigo, who was our club’s player before deciding that, to his understanding, his contract with Athletic was not valid and that he would leave to Espanyol B, dribbled well down the left and his shot on goal barely missed wide. De Lucas replaced Abel in the minute 84 and almost without pause Ocio was sent off for double yellow, the second also deserved. Baiano finally enjoyed a new opportunity in the minute 88 and Luis Prieto came in to replace David Lopez since it was time to at least save the one point. If it’s not possible to win, at least add points, and that’s what Athletic did in the last minutes.
Today even both coaches have agreed on the summary: first half for Athletic, second for Murcia, the visitors deserved more in that period and the work of the referee didn’t leave anyone content. We’ll have to wait until 2008 and the Copa to obtain a second home victory this season, even though in the 2 January meet even a couple of draws are useful. Contradictions!