Athletic Club beat Real Valladolid 2-0 thanks to two goals scored by Gabilondo, in the…
Athletic Club beat Real Valladolid 2-0 thanks to two goals scored by Gabilondo, in the first half and the second. An important triumph and not just because of the difference between us and the third-last team, four points, but because it was achieved against a rival who is trying to avoid getting burnt and whose goal average is favourable. It wasn’t a brilliant match, however, the team were effective, an element which has been lacking on so many other occasions. Peace of mind is a little closer, but this sensation needs to be confirmed over the upcoming matches against direct adversaries. The negative aspect of the encounter was the fifth yellow card given to Amorebieta which means he won’t be able to play against Real Betis on Saturday.
No surprises in the starting line ups and who knows if the first goal came about at San Mamés because of the ambience or if the goal brought back this ambience at the Cathedral. One way or the other, in the 5th minute a well-measured pass to the centre by Llorente from the right was finished off from top to bottom by Gabilondo. Surely, some may have remembered a similar start in Montjuic, but there was a happy ending today.
Following the goal the initiative still belonged to the Red-Whites, with a cry for penalty as Aduriz was held back and another opportunity for Gabilondo in minute 14 of the game. Nevertheless, Valladolid were getting possession of the ball more and more and then the match moved into the direct clash between Armando and Sesma stage, two old friends and team-mates in Cádiz. In the 17th minute Armando left the goal area swiftly and closed off all of Sesma’s angles perfectly, a Sesma header went astray in the 26th minute and later he gave Armando the chance to show off his skills after having taken a foul shot in the 33rd. Valladolid weren’t able to score, but since the possession of the ball in play by Athletic lasted so little, the dread in the stands was growing, fortunately towards the end of the first half the danger was to be found at the rival’s end of the field. Aduriz’s header missed in the 36th minute, and in the 43rd an offside Valladolid led to a foul being taken which was finished off by Llorente and deflected by Sergio Asenjo to corner and then, Alvaro Rubio looked as though he had committed a penalty, uncalled by the referee, by deflecting the ball with hands from within the goal area.
After the break Sisi replaced Borja and Valladolid’s starting 4-3-3 formation turned into what looked more of a 4-4-2 combination with Kome behind Manchev who had left the right wing. For Athletic, once again, the challenge of confronting the start of the second half with a lead was a new one, if we consider the precedents. At least the start of the second half only saw a high volley by García Calvo in the 49th minute and the artificial dominance by the visitors soon met up with some unforeseen events. A deep pass by Gabilondo meant that Aduriz was alone in front of the goalkeeper just behind the dividing line, but Pedro López tripped him up and got a red card as a result. It was the 55th minute and while Valladolid went on to play with a line up of three from behind, Athletic continued to apply the pressure looking to put an end to the contest. Once this aim was achieved, in the 68th minute, the Red-Whites just about disappeared from the field and this impression did not improve much during the last stages of the match. At least Gabilondo scored a double, in this case after having received a good centre pass by Llorente on the right and with maybe a too confident Sergio Asenjo in front. Gabilondo’s jump did the rest and with no resistance whatsoever found the back of the net. The visitors protested saying that the ball had touched the Rojiblanco’s hand; however Gabilondo denied it in the press conference room. Another controversial move. If only they were all that way.
Ramos stepped in for Aduriz after one hour of play and after the second goal Capdevila was sent in to replace Kome and David López to replace Susaeta. Athletic limited themselves to letting the clock tick on until the end of the match, the eighth of the season without having a single goal scored against them, and at no time were able to set the pace for what was left of the encounter.
Valladolid, on their behalf, made up for their lack in numbers with numerous strategic moves, leaving the impression that they had given our team more of a work out than they actually did. A good opportunity to narrow down the difference in the 76th minute after a great move by Sisi who was sent forward by none other than Sesma. Seeing that there was such a drought the referee, who must have felt at home at San Mamés, prolonged the match for another seven minutes.
In the end these three points were achieved, in this case, thanks to the effectiveness demonstrated and this trend should continue especially in the matches at San Mamés, which must be converted into a fortress from now until the end of the League, if we want the objective of living without fear to be accomplished way before the end of the season.