Athletic Club defeated Real Murcia 1-2. Iván Alonso scored the home goal, equalised by Llorente…
Athletic Club defeated Real Murcia 1-2. Iván Alonso scored the home goal, equalised by Llorente before the break and Gabilondo set the final score with eight minutes to go. It can be said that for once, and without it being a precedent, our team has fulfilled the prediction almost by inertia and has done so against a team that has played an attacking game, with a lot of verticality at the beginning of each half, but that carried on their backs the heavy burden of knowing that they are in the Second Division.
Athletic returned to winning ways, showed greater defensive solidity and kept open the small window that gives access to a continental competition. In addition, for the more ashen, it mathematically certifies a more than comfortable permanence.
As we pointed out, Murcia, led by Clemente, came out with spark and verticality, completing in the first few minutes several and varied incursions on both flanks that culminated in crosses into the penalty area, although without a finisher. The first time they managed to get a shot on target was in the 7th minute when Armando saved a header from Iván Alonso, yesterday’s most dangerous attacker for the Pimentón side.
The passing of the minutes brought a certain balance, although in the 18th minute a shot from De Lucas was repelled by Prieto and the rebound was headed in by Alonso to make it 1-0. In the 23rd minute, Aduriz (23rd minute) hit a tremendous shot on goal, cheered on by the numerous Athletic fans present at the Nueva Condomina, but disallowed by the referee on the grounds that the striker had helped his arm in the previous control. Despite overcoming the opposition midfield with some ease, Athletic’s superiority was artificial with the obstacle of the wind, but above all their own lack of rhythm as possession was extremely short.
Nevertheless, Llorente equalised in the 31st minute. It was, as it happens in grey games, by drawing sparks from the water of strategy. A free kick from near midfield by David Lopez was headed down by Aduriz and Llorente took advantage of his pass into the far corner of the box to get in front of Carini and score with his foot. Athletic looked like they could take the game if they managed to control it, but apart from a pass from Llorente to Aduriz, which didn’t bear fruit, the only thing of note was a shot from Iñigo saved by Armando.
Up until half-time and with the prospect of three games in a week, there were five new players in the team yesterday. Four nominal, as Prieto, Cuellar, David Lopez and Aduriz were starting and one positional, as Gurpegi returned to midfield despite having already played a few minutes against Mallorca. At the restart Yeste replaced Javi Martínez and in Murcia Cuadrado replaced the injured Marañón.
The new signing was, along with Richi, the only survivor of the Murcia team that visited Athletic in their previous adventure in the First Division (2003-2004 season). In our team there were more repeated faces: Luis Prieto, Del Horno, Iraola, Gurpegi and Yeste, plus the unused players from the bench, Aranzubia and Etxeberria.
With the changes, the start was similar. Murcia were on the attack and Athletic were not getting into their stride, although they were in less trouble at the back than they had been in the first half. Armando caught a low shot from Aquino in the 46th minute, the goalkeeper made a good save from De Lucas in the 48th minute from a free kick and in the 61st minute Iván Alonso headed wide.
On the red and white side, only a deflected header from Gurpegi was salvageable. At times it seemed that both teams were drowsy, without any rhythm to offer, perhaps aware that on this occasion the television signal was not reaching homes, txokos and catering establishments. During this period, the flashing of the fourth official’s scoreboard and the tinkling of the video scoreboard were the main focus of attention.
Gabilondo came on for Cuéllar in the 62nd minute, moving David López from the left wing to the right. A minute later, Abel came on for Iñigo, perhaps with the intention of balancing the midfield, five minutes later Baiano came on for Goitom, the first substitution protested by the crowd, and in the 69th minute Garmendia took the place of López.
Baiano was the only one who gave Armando any work to do until the end. In the 70th minute with a header and in the 89th minute with a shot that, after tripping a defender, found the goalkeeper. As in the first half, Athletic were pushing for the three points. And as it could not be otherwise, in the thick of the game, the strategy illuminated the small chink through which tranquillity has crept in and a minimum of hope is also installed.
Yeste sent a free-kick to the far post, where Llorente shot with his right foot, which Carini parried away, but Gabilondo, this time, managed to put the ball into the rival’s goal. Eight minutes remained and without too much trouble, except for the aforementioned Baiano, and another chance for Aduriz from Gabilondo’s pass, the points returned with the team to Bilbao.
A joy for the hundreds of fans who have once again made themselves felt, the homework done after two seasons to forget and the option of improving positions from the current ninth place. The two remaining opponents are not easy, but the ingredients are in place to try to do well in the farewell to the season at San Mamés on Sunday against Racing, ppv included. The rest is up to the players.