Athletic Club lost to Sevilla FC by 4-1 and has ended up in eleventh position…
Athletic Club lost to Sevilla FC by 4-1 and has ended up in eleventh position in the League championship. Aduriz scored a penalty kick, which put our team ahead only a few minutes into the match, but Kanoute (2), Keita and Navas all scored goals on behalf of the locals. A good start and a bad finish, so much impotence. Hence that’s how we can sum up the last match of the season. Such a pity since the Intertoto was within reach for about ten minutes, although we already knew that this would be difficult to achieve against the Andalusian team. Nonetheless, the adverse result should not detract from the positive aspects of the season, in view of the fact that the team have achieved the main objective they gave themselves at the start of the competition, which was to obtain enough points in order to breathe easier in light of the two previous campaigns. Also, it can be confirmed that Athletic have taken the first steps that should, logically, authenticate, the construction of a solid team.
On the last match day we were subject to two conditions: a victory for us and a loss for Deportivo against Villarreal. Only the second condition came about and Deportivo who, just as we were witness to last season, have completed the final stretch with a plague of victories. Not far behind is Sevilla who have qualified for the European competitions once more.
In spite of everything the start to the match gave us hope, because in the third minute Athletic scored after a penalty was committed against Llorente and converted into goal by Aduriz who had tricked De Sanctis.
The Red-Whites, in case there was any doubt about their desire to qualify for a continental competition, did not give up for one moment and during the first fifteen minutes of the match had opportunities to put the clash on the right track. Gurpegi took a shot at goal using his head from a corner in the 6th minute and a Llorente drop kick only needed to be guided in by Gabilondo in the 14th minute but this was not to be. Kanoute was the first to respond immediately afterwards with a header, which went high, and Gabilondo, omnipresent in our goal scoring opportunities, finished off a foul that went astray in minute 16 of the game.
Unfortunately Sevilla got a hold of themselves and on the basis of recovering, and receiving, balls in the centre of the field with enormous ease, took the initiative until the break. Their incursions were numerous and more common than we would have liked, mainly down the right wing. And it is just that Jiménez’s team simply do not have, what one could say, bad midfielders.
Adriano’s angled shot at goal missed in the 25th minute, in the 28th Renato’s attempt also missed and shortly afterwards Armando had to use his fists to deflect a foul shot taken by Renato. The next player to have a go was Koné with a great individual run, but Armando read his mind. No truce declared, Renato’s shot at goal hit the post in the 31st minute and half a dozen minutes later he was alone against our goalkeeper, however, Amorebieta was able to resolve the problem quickly. But the same didn’t happen in the 40th minute, and even though Gurpegi had snatched the ball off Koné, the ball had reached Kanoute’s feet and he scored without opposition. The Red-Whites called for an offside ruling, all in vain.
Even so, Athletic created, prior to the break, another good goal scoring opportunity. Again from a corner kick that was combed on this occasion by Llorente, however, it just missed.
During the half time break, Caparrós made quite a few changes to the team: Iraola replaced Urko Arroyo, who has made his comeback two seasons later, and Ustaritz replaced Koikili. These substitutions meant a change in plans, Iraola to the right wing, Ustaritz to the left, Gurpegi in the double pivot position and Garmendia in attack on the right.
The start of the second half was looking just as bright as it had in the first half. In the 46th minute Gabilondo was given a “present” by De Sanctis, but the loose ball ended up being a lob which was kicked too high. In the 50th he was at it again, but the ball went astray once more.
Sevilla did not look overly dangerous and the news from A Coruña had kept our hopes up. The home team, with the untiring support of the Biris, set the pace, but without too much danger and Caparrós made his third change in the 61st minute when sending Etxeberria in for an injured Llorente, who had asked to be replaced after having received a strong blow to his left iliac crest. As if this was not enough, Jiménez begun to get his high class players on the bench going: Capel stepped in for Adriano in the 61st minute, in the 68th Maresca replaced Poulsen and in the 76th Keita was sent in for Renato.
Nothing out of the blue, except for Kanoute whose shot at goal was saved from under the posts by Amorebieta, the minutes ticked on and even though a draw would have been useless the margin was surmountable. Nevertheless, in the 78th minute, the newcomer to the field Keita turned a foul committed by Ocio into goal. And with this goal our hopes had gone down the drain. Sevilla grew in stature and had shown that they were in their favourite habitat: gaps and class up front: Navas fired away but the ball hit the post in the 81st minute and Kanoute was able to score their third goal on the rebound (3-1), Capel’s shot at goal was struck with too much angle in the 84th, Armando caught a shot at goal taken by Kanouté and in the 88th Navas scored the 4-1 with very little angle and after Muñiz Fernandez having made it clear that he was going to sanction the previous foul. The referee, following the penalty awarded at the start of the encounter, added aplenty to the already long list of cards given to Athletic.
To finish off and to keep up the comparisons with the first half, Javi Martinez kicked, already into extra time, to the body of De Sanctis and therefore this was how the cycle was, almost mimetically speaking, repeated: a good start by Athletic, Sevilla’s reaction in equalizing and winning the match and an opportunity had by the visitors in the final stages of the encounter, all in vain and all of which was reflected on the scoreboard.
On the contrary, something which has not been in vain is all the hard work done this season, especially in a competition marked by the hardships of many teams, several of them with enormous budgets and prestigious names. The analysis of the situation of each one when put in context is always positive.
The League is over with. The next is just around the corner.