Athletic Club defeated Real Murcia by 1 -2. Iván Alonso scored for the locals, and…
Athletic Club defeated Real Murcia by 1 -2. Iván Alonso scored for the locals, and the equaliser was scored by Llorente before the break while Gabilondo established the final result with just eight minutes left to play. It’s possible to say that for once, and without precedents, our team fulfilled the predictions almost by inertia and have done so before a team that has been on the attack, with a lot of verticality at the beginning of each half, but that carried the heavy load of knowing they were already in Second Division.
Athletic is once again on the victory path, they’ve shown greater defensive solidity and maintain a small open window to gain access to a continental competition; additionally, for the most pessimistic, they continue to mathematically maintain a comfortable permanence.
As we indicated, Murcia, lead by Clemente, played with spark and verticality, completing several and various incursions down both wings in the first minutes that culminated with centres to the area, though with lack of strikers. The first time they did so within the three woods was in the minute 7 of play when Armando deflected a header by Iván Alonso from the goalmouth, yesterday’s most dangerous attacker from the ‘pimentoneros’ squad.
As the minutes passed the balance began to settle, however in the minute 18 a cross by De Lucas was warded off by Prieto and the rebound was sent into the box on the half-turn by Alonso scoring the 1-0. As a response, Aduriz (minute 23) hooked a tremendous shot on goal, cheered by the numerous Athletic followers present at La Nueva Condomina, but it was ruled out by the referee as he understood the forward appeared to have controlled the ball with his hand before the shot. Despite rather easily outshining the rival’s midfield, Athletic’s superiority was artificial with the wind as an obstacle, but most importantly from their own deficiencies to provide the match with a certain pace since ball possessions were extremely short in the time.
Despite it all, Llorente equalized the match in the minute 31. He was, as happens in grey matches; bringing out sparks from the waters of strategy. A free-kick taken by David Lopez from near the midfield was tipped by Aduriz with the head and his pass to the centre of the area was taken advantage of by Llorente who beat Carini for the score. One could see that Athletic could take the match if it was able to control it, but except for a change of positions, Llorente for Aduriz, which didn’t result, the only thing to highlight was a shot by Iñigo which was blocked by Armando.
Until the break and with the perspective of three matches in one week, our team presented five new features yesterday. Four names, since Prieto, Cuéllar, David Lopez and Aduriz were starters and a positional one, since Gurpegi returned to the midfield although he had already played some minutes against Mallorca. On the start-up, Yeste replaced Javi Martinez and for Murcia, Cuadrado substituted an injured Marañón. The recently incorporated was, along with Richi, the only survivor of the Murcia that visited Athletic in its previous adventure in Primera (2003-2004 season). On our team there were more repeated faces: Luis Prieto, Del Horno, Iraola, Gurpegi and Yeste, in addition to those waiting their turn on the bench, Aranzubia and Etxeberria.
With the changes the start was rather similar. Murcia was on the attack and Athletic without taking their place, though the difficulties in the back were fewer than during the first half. Armando blocked a level shot by Aquino in the minute 46; the goalie made a great save from a shot by De Lucas in the 48th from free-kick and in the 61st Iván Alonso shot a header wide.
On behalf of the rojiblancos, only a deflected header by Gurpegi can be highlighted. At times it seemed that both teams were slumbering, with no pace to offer, conscious perhaps that on this occasion the television signal was not being sent to homes, txokos and bars/ taverns/restaurants. In that half, the spark by the fourth referee on the marker and the clinking of the video-scoreboard centred almost all the attention. Gabilondo came in for Cuéllar in the minute 62, changing David Lopez from the left to the right flank. A minute later, Abel came in for Iñigo perhaps with the intention of balancing the strength in the midfield; five minutes later Baiano came in for Goitom, a substitution which like the first was rejected by the crowd, and in the 69th Garmendia took up Lopez’ position.
Baiano has been the only one that’s made Armando work until the end; in the minute 70, with a header shot-on-goal and in the 89th with a shot that, after encountering a defender, ran into the goalkeeper; just as occurred in the first half when full inertia pushed Athletic toward the three points. And as it couldn’t be any other way, between the intensity, strategy illuminated the small gap by which composure sieved and a minimum hope had also installed. Yeste sent a lateral free-kick to the far-port, where Llorente finished off with the right, it was repelled by Carini, but Gabilondo, was this time certainly able to introduce to the ball into the rival’s goalmouth. There were still eight minutes left and with no true danger, except that mentioned by Baiano, and a new opportunity by Aduriz from a Gabilondo pass, the points are coming with our team to Bilbao.
A joy for the hundreds of fans who once again have been made themselves noticed, all tasks fulfilled with competence after two seasons to be forgotten and the option to improve positions from the current ninth place on the table. The two rivals that remain are not easy, but the components are set to try to do things right in the season farewell in San Mamés on Sunday against Racing, PPV included. The rest is up to the players.