Racing and Athletic Club have draw at one goal in the Sardinero. Yeste and Colsa…
Racing and Athletic Club have draw at one goal in the Sardinero. Yeste and Colsa scored the goals, both in the second half. A taste of bittersweet after the referred draw, even though Athletic Club has been able to score away from home, in an ill-fated field last season, and despite doing so after playing a good match, though non-complete because a mistake by Gorka Iraizoz has been the detonator of the equalizer, unjust perhaps, but that in the end deprived our team of facing the match before Sporting as a comfort mat on the table. Just as occurred in the last Liga’s away match, Athletic had the occasions and Racing scored the goal from a fluke play, as happened on that occasion with Llorente’s own goal from a free-kick and the carrousel of marred occasions.
If we’re to stay with the good, it would be interesting to continue on the good run of results, to strengthen defensively and, therefore, not grant the rival excessive opportunities. In addition, Athletic, mostly in the second half, created goal occasions, has known how to play in numerical inferiority and even manage the deception of the draw.
All in a match with two very different halves, the first half, with no goal occasions and the second which was livelier, with options and more entertaining to watch. In both periods the rojiblancos played the game that most agreed to them. For starters, they closed all of Racing’s lines of attack and applied themselves on the counter-offensive, with good ball handling at times, but with certain haste in the final meters. The balance makes for this half to not go down in soccer chronicles and the observations are few. But if we really wanted to scratch the surface we’ll stay with a wide shot by Serrano in the 11th minute and an innocent header by Tchité in the 29th, as well as a direct corner kick by Yeste in the 42nd. Athletic had taken an important step in order to score away: to be solid. They just lacked shots on goal.
The rojiblancos had come onto the field with the usual 4-4-2, but the wings better defined, aligning Llorente and Ion Vélez for the fourth time this season, two at home and two away. Also, Koikili made his debut this current season due to Balenziaga’s sick leave and, in the final minutes, another defence made his debut with the rojiblanca jersey, Xabier Etxebarria.
The next step occurred soon enough. A free-kick by Yeste went toward the goalmouth after bouncing off a wall player and from that moment on the notebook was being filled with things to report. Except for a penetration by Pereira, ruined in extremis by Iraola, the Cantabrians were powerless. Perhaps that is why Muñiz tried to give his team a more offensive air by introducing Juanjo to replace left winger Sepsi, setting Serrano back and positioning Pereira in the midfield. The results were not those wished for, because Athletic continued in their positive dynamics and on the swap the balance was clearly favourable. A free-kick taken by David Lopez was deflected by Toño, Colsa finished off with a high header and a penetration by David Lopez down the right was snatched from Ion Vélez’ feet by Toño.
On the slate, Caparrós countered Muñiz by reinforcing the right wing with Gurpegi in for Yeste and changing Lopez to the left. On the opponent’s bench, the same manoeuvre in the right wing, a forward in for a defender, Gonçalves for Pinillos, but identical occasion dynamics for yesterday’s blue team. Javi Martinez’ header was barely off target and Gurpegi, also with a header, made Toño work. To Muñiz’ previous change, Caparrós responded by bringing in Garmendia for Ion Vélez in the minute 76, but his aspiration only lasted a minute, since in the 77th, Orbaiz was booked with his second yellow in eight minutes after Munitis’ trap, his low alignment and the fact that Orbaiz did not see him when he stuck his foot in.
Gurpegi changed to the double pivot and Garmendia to the right band, while Racing saw Luccin enter for Lacen, similar pronunciation and identical objective. In spite of all the anguish, Athletic responded with the uncharacteristic serenity of a team that is in the lower end of the table; Toño even had to again intervene in the minute 79 before Garmendia. Everything appeared on track, but it is clear that our team needs too many coincidences for things to go well. An innocent shot on goal by Colsa seemed destined to reach Iraizoz’ hands, but his two steps forward lodged the ball into the net.
With the worst of omens seeing the precedents, Athletic Club kept their cool and even enjoyed the clearest of occasions. In the 91st, Iraola made a good personal play and after dribbling he shot a strong right, but Toño successfully intervened; just as occurred in the 93rd, after Racing attempted to transform a lateral foul against our team by being off-sides, however the assistant did not raise the flag and only Toño, once again, was able to thwart Amorebieta’s attempt for the second time.
A pity! A deception which we’ll have to ponder and quickly file away to emphasize the good image offered, the fact of continuing to add points and the confirmation that there are already quite a few teams moving in a reduced point area on the table. The rest is to forget what a victory would have meant and be conscious of the importance of defeating Sporting at home and strengthening not only the positive dynamics, but also the strength of the team in San Mamés.