Athletic Club has achieved a lucid victory against Sevilla (2-0) to end the first round…
Athletic Club has achieved a lucid victory against Sevilla (2-0) to end the first round of the Liga and has taken a right step at the right time. Yeste, in the first half, and Susaeta, in the second, have scored the goals for the rojiblancos. The negative side have been the injuries suffered by Iraizoz and Orbaiz.
Better late than never, and it’s a victory that has come on the last day of the first round and which will leave us with an awesome experience. It’s been a duel in which all the protagonists, except for the visitors for obvious reasons, have given their all. The team has coupled the strength shown in other matches with great practical sense and the longed for goal. The spectators have left aside their tempers and have supported all the players, without exception. The referee, of whom we’ve wished not to talk about so many times, has done a good job, but not because the team has won, not because Escudé was sent off with a direct red card, not because he could have sanctioned a penalty in the Andalusian area, but because he has not been the centre of attention and because, perhaps the most important reason, he’s applied the same criteria to the actions by both teams; a valued asset around these dates.
Sevilla’s coach has looked for an explanation to the outcome of the match in Escudé having been sent-off in the minute 54, but, if we don’t take into account the minutes between the 15th to the 25th of the first half, Athletic Club he has been superior in game and goal occasions.
For starters, our team has imposed a high pace to the match and it’s seasoned it with strong pressure up top that prevented the ball from circulating past the rival’s midfield. That same pressure was accentuated in Sevilla’s right side, with the purpose of short-circuiting the Alves-Navas pair. The ball rounded De Sanctis’ area, but we needed to create more danger. First in doing so has been Markel Susaeta in the minute 10, but De Sanctis saved the sung goal.
When it was Sevilla’s turn, it’s been ten algid minutes by Jiménez’ men with two goal options and one main character, Jesus Navas: in the minute 17 he shot on goal, but Iraizoz made the save, and in the minute 25, in a counter-attack with four sevillistas against two rojiblanco defenders, Alves has chosen the worse option and passed to Navas on the right instead of to Diego Capelon, who was alone on the left.
Perhaps accustomed to an Athletic that, in spite of not winning, extended its dominion until the equator of other matches, the balance arrived all too soon, but it was a misconception. In the minute 27, Koikili stole a ball in the midfield, passed it to David Lopez who immediately shot a through ball that Yeste was able to elevate past De Sanctis. And that’s where Sevilla was finished; they haven’t been able to react either with eleven or less still with ten men, because the injuries and accumulation of matches take its toll on everyone, without exception. The match was unidirectional and Aduriz almost took advantage of a penetration by David Lopez in the minute 32, although the best weapon was setting the pace of the match as needed, something that’s been missed on other occasions.
By then, Iraizoz -back from an injury- was injured again, although Aranzubia hasn’t come onto the field until the minute 42, being greeted in a manner more in accordance with a home player, regardless of his level of success on the pitch.
In the second half, also forced, Sevilla made a change by starting Adriano in place of an injured Crespo. The most apparent change has been the exchange of wings by Capel and Navas, which quite honestly hasn’t had much influence, neither in the game, nor in time, since each one returned to his origin almost immediately. To worsen things for the visitors, Escudé has wanted to take the law into his own hands after a previous scuffle with Aduriz and his ‘elbow-at the-ready’ jump has been interpreted as a straight red card. A new step backwards, also on the field since Poulsen has been placed in the centre and Renato was brought down to the midfield. To complete the reorganization, Juanjo has come in for Chevantón and Duda has replaced Diego Capel, though in vain.
Until the moment of the send-off, we have to recognize that Athletic had not done much damage since the re-start and the most positive was that they didn’t have difficulties either and handled the game rather well; however, Sevilla is still a quality and experienced team and it wouldn’t have been the first time that it obtained optimal results in numerical inferiority. In addition, an injured Orbaiz left his post to Muñoz in the minute 60; which still left a difficult stretch.
Aduriz hasn’t been able to score the second in the minute 61 after excessively crossing the ball and has been able to score in the 68th after a good inside pass by Yeste, he called for the penalty after facing and overtaking the goalie, Poulsen made the save from under the under woods, but an attentive Susaeta pushed the two to nil into the net. Everything under control! Aduriz didn’t back down, and in the 71st has preferred to control with his chest rather than shooting the header. Who did do it was Iraola in the 74th and Aduriz once again in the 79th after set play by Iraola and Lopez.
What about Sevilla? A couple of attempts, already with the 2-0, a shot by Duda when he was single in the area in the 76th which missed wide and a high shot by Maresca in the 78th. The rojiblancos have known how to induce sleep on the match and have taken it to the final whistle without worries.
And finally, just point out that Athletic has had similar matches this season, but it hasn’t been able to finish off the job with goals or just a bit of luck. Against Sevilla, our team has made fewer attempts on the hot moments of the match, but it has had better aim; both goals have come from set plays, waiting for strategy to work. Meanwhile, we still have an interesting goal average against, one per match, halfway in the competition. It was about time we celebrated a home victory, but on the day the team has climbed to ninth it’s important to remember that there is still a lot of work ahead. Meanwhile, the Copa offers us a new challenge, which cannot be put off, at the Lluis Companys.