Athletic Club and Getafe have drawn at one goal at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Soldado,…
Athletic Club and Getafe have drawn at one goal at the Coliseum Alfonso Perez. Soldado, with a header, scored the 1-0 just 15 minutes into the game and Llorente, on the half-turn, established the draw in the minute 40. An open match from the beginning, with two teams in search of three points and that has offered more occasions to increase the marker. The first half hour has been local and, later, almost until the end, both ball control and opportunities have been for Athletic. Everything speckled with several plays up for debate with a refereeing performance, somewhat common in almost all sports that for various reasons did not make either contender happy.
The one point is well embraced before our squad begins the phase in the Liga where it’ll have to face four of the, theoretically, stronger teams. The draw is also welcomed just before the challenge of the second leg of the Copa semi-finals, because it had nothing to do with the previous Sunday and the team has regained the strength it’s been displaying as of late during many segments of the match.
Although the victory was not achieved, now the number of matches in Getafe that harvest points (three) is now more than the defeats (two). On the table, the team still occupies the same position, ninth, and has the same point difference with respect to relegation spots as those that lead to the next UEFA Cup, seven points. To complete the summary, just indicate that Yeste will not be able play against Sevilla in the Liga as he’s accumulated five yellow cards.
The encounter began like last season’s, since Getafe needed very little to create danger. Soldado headed just high of the crossbar in the minute 3, and the same forward, in the minute 8, squandered a good ‘deadly pass’ by Granero after ending off target, but misfortunes come in threes, or third time’s the charm, and we’ve seen the first controversial play of the evening. On the quarter hour a non-existent foul was shot into the area by Getafe and when Javi Martinez was getting ready to clear Cata Diaz got in his way. However, the referee did not indicate anything and the rebound, quite short, was finished off by Soldado with a header, making Iraizoz’ attempt to clear useless.
Behind on the scoreboard, Athletic Club tried to exploit the defensive deficiencies of the rival, previously detected, but that hadn’t yet been tested. In their persistence another two pieces appeared for debate. In the minute 17, Jacobo blocked a ball and collided with Etxeita, the ball fell and Iraola pushed it into the net. In vain, since the play was invalidated due to a foul on the goalie. In the 19, the referee awarded Llorente a penalty conceded by Mario ‘for jumping with his arms up while disputing a ball with an opponent, and bringing him down’; a strongly protested decision both in the stands and by the azulones (blue). Unfortunately, as in the first leg, Jacobo became a nightmare for the strikers that aren’t doing too well from the spot lately and saved Iraola’s shot.
Getafe, and particularly Soldado, kept insisting and made Iraizoz work in the minute 20, but Athletic didn’t give in and, contrary to what happened in A Corunna, it didn’t collapse after missing the penalty; and that’s even considering that the match was open, a dangerous circumstance for those trailing, since Getafe was quite comfortable and, more importantly, freer, in that situation.
Fortunately, the rivals already know that Athletic does a lot more damage in set pieces now and it’s clearly reflected in the way they defend those plays. In one of them, in the minute 26, Javi Martinez was able to brush the ball, but he barely missed wide and in the 31, Llorente has been the object of a penalty that seemed clearer than what was actually awarded. As the forward from Iruñea indicated in the Coliseum press room, it is very difficult to play with one or several defenders as knapsacks in each corner or free kick. In contrast, on the return, David Cortes finished off a great play by Uche with a wide header in the minute 35, in what has been Getafe’s clearest attempt to perforate the rojiblanca goal until the end.
Until the break Athletic Club took control of the ball and alternated long balls to its ends with combination between lines with Yeste and Susaeta in different flanks and even with the captain in sometimes more centred positions. In the heat of the combination of both styles, Orbaiz centred a ball into the area where Ion Vélez chested down a pass to assist Llorente. He beat the defender, and on the half-turn scored low with his right. Before going into half-time with the draw, he even had the opportunity of once again colliding with a defence inside the area and at the end of the match the certainty that, to date, there’s a non-written law that prohibits awarding more than one penalty for holding to the same player.
On restart of play, Athletic came out dominating a rival who, in the minute 48, had replaced an injured Soldado by Albín, a circumstance that also modified their offensive game. That was seen later, since in the first quarter hour Athletic didn’t give them time other than to defend: Susaeta sent a good cross into the heart of the area but couldn’t find a striker, Ion Vélez connected a high volley in the 49, Orbaiz didn’t lag behind in the 53 and in the 59, Llorente was able to break free but his header was high.
Control with no prize and a double substitution. Toquero came in for Ion Vélez and Contra substituted Licht, changing David Cortes to the left wing. The dynamics remained unaltered with a much more vertical Athletic. In fact, the rojiblancos had part of the match in their hands in the minute 73 when a precise cross got sent over the centre back by Toquero and while the ball was headed to Llorente silence became reality in the Coliseum, but his header, perhaps inspired to assure it, went wide, just barely, but wide none-the-less.
A disappointment for some and warning for others. After all it gave the impression that both teams were already approving the draw. Celestini came in for Polanski and, for Athletic, Gurpegi and Gabilondo came in for Orbaiz, who had a yellow, and Susaeta. Except for two headers by Albín, one high and the other controlled by Iraizoz, our team didn’t have more difficulty other than that arising from the logical uncertainty of the final minutes. In the end, a draw at a ground considered unlucky and delight for the hundreds of fans that travelled with the team.
The moment of truth is upon us, in the Liga and the Copa, with a double ration of Sevilla, Saturday and Wednesday, with kick-off on both matchdays at 20:00 hours. Let’s hope there are two versions, but with the same positive result.