Athletic Club and Recreativo have drawn at one in San Mamés, although the visitors have…
Athletic Club and Recreativo have drawn at one in San Mamés, although the visitors have done more to take the three points in play. Aitor scored the 0-1 in first half and in the second Javi Martinez equalized with a header. All in all, the best detail from a loose match has been to ascertain that things stay the same on the table.
The first half has been sad and boring, on the part of both teams; without occasions and lacking pace. In that context, for obvious reasons, Recreativo was the team that felt most comfortable on the field. Well-positioned with its 4-1-4-1 they created many problems for Athletic Club, especially when it came to creating plays, forcing our team to shoot an excess of deep futile balls. In the middle of everything the ones that best controlled the ball have been the onubense team and, with no performance, in the minute 32 they took advantage of a ball gathered by Camuñas behind Balenziaga trimming the area until it easily entitled Aitor to shot past Iraizoz.
There’s been no palpable reaction by the locals, if we exclude a header by Gabilondo into Riesgo’s hands after a cross by Iraola. That, and penalty protested by Joseba Etxeberria in the minute 26, make up a poor result for a team that hasn’t lost at home in many matches.
And from mentioning a possible penalty to a similar play in the opposing area upon restart of play, in a much more exciting second half. It’s been the kick-off and lost ball, as a pass from the centre circle right through the defence reached Adrián Colunga who was starting his personal test against Iraizoz. The forward tried to dodge the goalie and he put his glove out and tipped the ball and boot. The ball was cleared, but the doubts dissipated when the referee waved play on. A play that evidently didn’t please the visitors and that opened the door to a second half with arbitration decisions for all tastes.
With no time to relax, a centre by Gabilondo was barely caught by Riesgo in the minute 48 and, in the 49th a free-kick by Gabilondo again was finished off with a header by Javi Martinez. Lacking Llorente’s loaf, Martinez’s half was enough for the crowds to hitch up to the match. The match was opening up, but perhaps too much for Athletic.
Our team insisted on turning the match around, with Toquero and Susaeta already on the field, as Etxeberria and David Lopez stayed in the changing rooms; however, Lucas Alcaraz’s players, always with honey on their lips in San Mamés, have known to read the match better in a meet that’s become two-legged. For example, in the minute 55 Colunga shot wide and in the 56 his lob over the goalie was too high. The rojiblancos were the heart and the onubenses the head. With the pulse at its highest, a corner serve in our favour in the minute 64 became, as sometimes happens, an almost lethal attack by Barber who even allowed himself a header pass to Adrián Colunga, however they didn’t count on Iraizoz and his best save of the evening. Two minutes later he stopped Iago Bouzón’s ball, though easier, after a corner.
Fortunately, the match calmed down a bit between substitutions with no schematic adjustments: Del Olmo in for Gabilondo, Maidana in for Aitor and Javi Fuego to replace Barber. After the calm, the dynamics didn’t change much either. Maidana tried to surprise Iraizoz from a distance, Del Olmo made Riesgo work a bit and, in the minute 82, Camuñas did have a clear opportunity, but his shot went wide.
The fans, like the team also rather out of tune yesterday, and the players interiorized that a draw was not a bad result and in the air drifted the shameful desire that the referee, as we’ve been able to verify this season, whistled the end of the match. However, between the scuffle in own area and a ball in play, the magic of football made it possible for the last two attempts to be for the rojiblancos and both in injury time; a forced shot by Orbaiz and, the last one, in the play that would close the match when, coming from a corner, the ball reached Ion Vélez, but from under the woods, Iago Bouzón’s head prevents us from talking about the luck of a champion and similar topics.
When one can’t win, a draw is not bad. As Coach Joaquin Caparrós stated in the San Mamés press room, it is difficult to evade the atmosphere generated around the second leg of the Copa semi-finals. However, the sooner the four victories are harvested to be comfortable in the Liga, the better. Meanwhile, UEFA is six points away, and relegation nine; still the same distance. The next objective is to clean our wounds and obtain in Getafe the first victory in the Alfonso Perez, without it mattering whether our luck changed with respect to what we saw in the first leg. It wouldn’t be a bad shove.