Athletic Club has lost by 1-3 against UD Almeria. Ion Vélez scored the only goal…
Athletic Club has lost by 1-3 against UD Almeria. Ion Vélez scored the only goal for our team and Pellerano, Negredo and Ortiz were the authors of the visitor’s goals. There’s just no excuse to justify this poor start to the Liga, since our team offered too many chances from the beginning and has shown deficiencies that put the encounter on the uphill. To make matters worse, the only chance in which Athletic seemed to be able to enlist in the match with appearance of success luck turned its back on them in the form of a missed shot from eleven meters. It was already too late and too difficult.
It gave the impression that the match was being played in the Almeria field, but the visitors brought afloat one of the deficits that the team’s been dragging since the pre-season. It was enough for the rival to enjoy some strategic plays to do damage and that’s what happened in the minute 7 when a corner shot by Corona was brushed by Chico and the other forward, Pellerano, pleasingly propelled it into the net.
The reaction didn’t take long in coming and it did by means of a volley that Etxeberria sent high with his left in the minute 10 and a possible penalty on Susaeta almost immediately. As was anticipated Gonzalo Arkonada’s team based its success on the order and accumulation of very dynamic players in the midfield. The rest was a question of maintaining their cool on a very warm afternoon. Besides, as already happened on the Almeria’s team visit last season, the players who theoretically started off as forwards contributed in generating many situations of superiority in the midfield and, mainly during first half, Athletic ran too much after the rivals. Perhaps that’s why the rojiblanco’s best occasions came from counterattacks, like that of Susaeta in the minute 25, but Diego Alves was there to stick his hand in, as he guessed right again with the Chilean by the same Susaeta.
Almeria, beginning with its goalkeeper, was not in any hurry, and Athletic Club wanted to but couldn’t in spite of the unconditional cheers they were receiving from the almost packed terraces. However, things began to look really bad in the minute 32 when a back pass by Casas with the right went past Ustaritz and ended up in Negredo’s feet who overtook Iraizoz with a lob just over his head; nil to two and one hour ahead.
What was worse was that San Mamés, or parts of it at least, decided to go down a seldom before travelled road, the one of whistling to the home players, in this case to Casas and in the second half also to Yeste, whilst Almeria was seen off among applauses. These are the things about soccer and freedom of expression that can take you a long way as we’ve seen the week prior to the start of the Liga, although at times it seemed as the last weeks of the championship. In that climate, the rival moved as fish in water and until the break they enjoyed longer times of possession for the desperation of our own and the happiness of the visitors.
And if things could get worse it did so at the start of the second half with the third goal, scored by Ortiz after a good pass by Corona, the point less attributable to deficits by our team. After the break, Orbaiz and Ion Vélez appeared on the playing field in for Gurpegi and Etxeberria. At least the gloomy day served so that Ion Vélez made his goal debut in First Division after breaking away rather well in the minute 55 and shooting with his left as the ball came deep from Susaeta.
Perhaps because the need to see something was immense or because Athletic had more and better balls than during the first half, the match entered one of those effervescent phases characteristic to San Mamés. Two minutes later, the same Ion Vélez lacked the needed determination to shoot that he had in the previous goal after receiving another deep pass between two centres, but at the last moment a defender got in its way.
Soon after David Lopez came in for Susaeta and Crusat for Piatti with intention of injecting some freshness in both attacks, however Athletic needed it in greater measurement. In that context in the minute 66 the play that definitively marked the match, in this case for the worse. Bruno committed a penalty and Yeste hurried to ask to shoot, but Diego Alves guessed his intention although he ended up clearing with his feet.
Sadness became real, because at that point the match was finished for Athletic and because the sensation of impotence ignited the whistles box for Yeste, one assumes that it was for failing to score the penalty. We should also emphasize that once the shock had passed successive interventions have deserved the endorsement of the applause.
With wind music or palms, the minutes were consumed in the same footpath: Athletic Club pushing without much tone and with little song and Almeria playing to make a definitive counterattack. In the last moment a clear header by Javi Martinez that went wide symbolized the nonsense of a day that was not the one dreamed of to begin the Liga.
To those that weren’t able to watch the match on television it will serve as consolation that they saved the money and a game to forget. Certainly, they should know that it was due to the fact that AVS did not ask for the images to those that produced them. With audio-visual support or without it Athletic Club will have to horribly improve in the second matchday, which takes us to Malaga. In the meantime, we have two weeks to store strength and ideas.