Hercules and Athletic Club draw at two goals in Alicante. Llera and Camara scored for…
Hercules and Athletic Club draw at two goals in Alicante. Llera and Camara scored for the locals before the interval and Llorente and Del Horno scored for our team in the second half. The best has been the final score, quite good in view of the second leg, and seeing Yeste on the field the full 90 minutes. The worst was the muscle injury suffered by Gorka Iraizoz, though this allowed for Aranzubia’s first official match appearance this season.
The encounter left, at least, four controversial and debatable plays, for everyone’s taste more or less, and they’ve been in this order; first, the possible penalty on Yeste in the minute 35. It gave the impression that he exaggerated the fall a bit, but the fact the referee didn’t book him with a yellow, which would have been his second, leaves little room for doubt.
Immediately following came the 2-0 and, without truce, Sendoa was sent off in the minute 37. The local player jumped for the ball, Iraola got in front and as the match report reflects the local was booked with a direct yellow for kicking a rival on the shoulder and chest. Whether it was voluntary or not, that does not influence the impact, which did exist and shows the player’s right arm and chest with visible marks. In that same play, Andoni Goikoetxea was also sent off by the referee.
The third play, in the second half, has been the hand committed by a Hercules defender after a shot by Muñoz. While our players protested in mass, the referee called a goal kick.
Finally, the fourth controversial play arrived in the minute 65 when Amorebieta gave the impression of holding Blas Perez after a ‘hat play’ in which the player lobbed the ball over him to later regain control.
The match developed around these parameters. From the start it looked as if Athletic was going to take the reins and a free-kick by Yeste in the minute 2 testified to it, but Hercules was cornering Athletic for two reasons. First, it turned every foul into an attack on the area with constant assaults by their two experienced and robust forwards and, second, it took advantage of the lack of combinations by our team, of the imprecise passes and errors in their shots.
In one of the many fouls came the 1-0, a goal scored by Llera after heading it in from almost inside box. Yeste made Sergio Aragoneses work in the minute 12 and Llorente sent the ball high in the 18, but they were isolated plays and Hercules gave more the sensation of creating danger and it did so rather easily.
The first two controversial plays came in the final stretch of the first half and between these Camara scored in the minute 36, by means of a shot at goal from outside the area. Before the break, in the 41, David Lopez had his option, the same minute that Aduriz replaced Gabilondo, and Del Horno had his shot during the extra time, but a defender warded off the danger.
After the break, Zubiaurre replaced Javi Martinez and Athletic set up to attack two lines of four with Perez at the head. The recently incorporated player took up the right flank, with Iraola moving up the same band, Muñoz and Yeste were the pivots and David Lopez played the left band of the attack. In the striker positions were Llorente and Aduriz. If things could only get worse they did with Joseba Etxeberria warming up to reinforce the attack even more. Iraizoz kicked the ball long with his right leg and first felt the symptoms and soon the consequences of a muscular injury. Aranzubia returned to the goalkeepers’ position in the minute 54, after a long recess.
At least in this second half Athletic has known how to play, moving the ball from wing to wing and without abusing pumping the area. For this, it took advantage of two factors, the logical fatigue of Hercules with one less player on the field and hole created in the right flank by the local defence since David Lopez and Del Horno took advantage of the fact that Javi González was having trouble defending. Yeste, especially, knew exactly how to look for the defender’s backs down that wing and on one of those occasions Del Horno crossed just as it came to him and Llorente scored for the first time this season.
It was not a bad result so far, we are in the Copa, and Goikoetxea tried to revitalize his team from the changing room tunnel by bringing in Rubén Navarro for Blas Perez as he had done before with Farinós substituting the skilful Mariño. In spite of this, the equaliser didn’t make itself wait and came in the minute 77 when Yeste made a long pass to Del Horno who shot at goal establishing what would be the definitive 2-2.
Hercules barely approached Aranzubia’s goal and it was the recently incorporated Ariel Montenegro who enjoyed an occasion that ended in a corner in the minute 78. Llorente, on the contrary, almost had a third goal in the minute 80, but his shot from the unexpected centre by Iraola, and shooting at goal as it came to him, went high. And that’s how the first leg of the Copa Round of 32 ended; with an encouraging result for the second leg which does not yet have a date and which should help to advance to the Round of 16.