Athletic Club lost 1-0 against Racing after a goal scored in the minute 42 from…
Athletic Club lost 1-0 against Racing after a goal scored in the minute 42 from a header by Tchite which hit Llorente in the face, on its way out, before slamming into the net. Our team returns empty-handed after forcing a greater number of chances and having all the opportunities to score. Nevertheless, if does not hit the goal the results are usually negative and that’s why Racing continues in European spots after pocketing the three points. For those that celebrate the Three Wise Men festivity, today’s lesson teaches us that the ancestors are not single when it comes to handing out gifts and that even those dressed in rojiblanco can participate.
Relegation is just a point away, but the other teams continue to add points and it’s urgent that we defeat Sevilla to keep away bad memories and old ghosts that no one likes to mention.
Athletic Club enjoyed seven clear goal opportunities, seven (7), perhaps more than in any other match during this season, and that should have been enough to score, considering even that despite being one of the less scored upon teams, scoring an away goal from San Mamés fits the assumable category.
The beginning of the match has been sufficiently eloquent: at the 29 second mark, Llorente was all alone, with no opposition, before Toño, but when he tried to place the ball he shot way over the crossbar (1). In the minute 8, Garmendia couldn’t reach a cross from Yeste, who in the 10th shot the free-kick and Llorente, in a forgettable evening, completely alone shot the header, but…out (2).
Several minutes passed until Racing crossed the midfield defended by our team and the referee considered that Smolarek was off sides in the minute 11. Munitis received a tremendous blow with the ball from Amorebieta that twisted one of his wrists and due to the injury had to retire the minute 17. His substitute, Tchite, was in the end decisive. Llorente once again shot a wide header in the minute 25, although this time from a more forced position. Athletic no longer dominated the match, but Racing chocked on its role as host and its first opportunity arrived at the hand of an excess of confidence by Athletic, a constant throughout the match at El Sardinero. Smolarek hooked a volley in the minute 36 after Ustaritz was too trusting and everything indicated that at the break the tables would reign. It didn’t happen because Llorente turned Tchite’s header toward his goal in the minute 42 and the match was exactly where Racing wanted it, specialists in setting sparks to every goal.
In the second half, the map took its course, wasted occasions by Athletic and those on Racing’s side taking advantage of spaces and presents offered by their rival. For starters, Aduriz replaced Garmendia in the minute 52 and the 4-2-3-1 changed to a clear 4-4-2 with Yeste more on the midfield and Javi Martinez on the left wing until in the final minutes when he once again took the midfield as Del Horno occupied that flank.
The first opportunity was for Athletic when Amorebieta shot a header home from a corner which Toño save on the same line (3). However, Tchite was able to increase the distance in the minute 55 after a defective pass by Koikili and in the 56 when Aranzubia saved the one-on-one.
Athletic, though it may sound sarcastic, was not ready to give anything away and Aduriz began his recital of taking the rival’s rear in the minute 56, but although Llorente stuck the tip of his boot, the ball went out (4). Again Aduriz showed his rival his back in the minute 57, avoided Toño’s arms, but the shot on goal cashed into the post (5).
Jorge Lopez shot on goal wide in the minute 59 and the match underwent a truce of substitutions: Susaeta in for David Lopez, Pablo Alvarez in for Serrano, Jordi F. for Colsa and Del Horno for Koikili. The rojiblanco practically played the extreme, though one of the occasions in which he occupied the lateral he left the ball fall back; however Tchite wasn’t able to take advantage of it.
Athletic didn’t give in, but Toño didn’t either. O another two occasions Aduriz ran into his body, minutes 79 (6) and 82 (7); seven opportunities without a single prize. An uncultivated effort that we must forget in order to confront the Copa this coming Wednesday before a top-shaped team full of well-known players. Let’s see if we can create less goal opportunities and score more goals.