Athletic Club has drawn 1-1 against Sporting Gijon, with goals by Bilic and Amorebieta, both…
Athletic Club has drawn 1-1 against Sporting Gijon, with goals by Bilic and Amorebieta, both in the second half, even though on the report the referee allocates it to Iraola. An important point that allows our team to maintain the distance from the hot zone at seven points, in addition to the respective goal-average, with just four matchdays left. Tirelessly but with little game, although Athletic Club has once again demonstrated that, despite all the anguish, it shows great effectiveness facing the rival goal. The encounter has also seen the debut of Adrien Goñi with whom that increases the number of players brought into play so far this Liga to 30. A hard-earned point against a well supported and needy opponent, but that will have to be confirmed on Saturday before Real Betis, last appointment before the Copa Final.
Sporting came on determined to take the initiative of the game and that’s what it established, although with more noise than result, eager to demonstrate to its followers that the trouble was worth the effort. Unfortunately our team has not known how to take advantage of the deficiencies generated by the haste and urgency to qualify. The locals reached the area with ease, but their attempts were not clear. A couple of wide shots by Barral and a shot by Sastre that Iraizoz rejected have been the more significant of the first big wave; that, and Llorente’s injury, after receiving a blow on his quadriceps when defending a ball soon after the start. He tried to continue on, but had to withdraw and leave his post to Ion Vélez in the minute 19. Sporting tried, but in spite of monopolizing the ball it could only add a header by Michel which Iraizoz easily caught.
Athletic, more or less, was going though that and from very little has created almost as much danger as the rival: Iraola was unable to accurately reach a ball combed by Ion Vélez and the recently-entered forward had the goal at the edge of the break, but his shot on goal ran into Cuéllar’s legs.
After re-start, Muñoz replaced newcomer Adrien Goñi, who made his debut in a first half full of high-flying balls. The challenge for the second half was to have more presence and, on the contrary, Sporting preferred to let Athletic come out of the cave. After a soft header by Martinez in the minute 48, the atmosphere started heating up, more from the encouragement of the crowds than from that of the players. A penalty has been called for in the minute 56 when a ball fell on Amorebieta’s arm after being thrown off-balance by an offence.
Unfortunately, when Athletic appeared to be bearing the storm and have everything under control, an indecision between Iraola and Javi Martinez at the time of gathering a loose ball allowed Diego Castro to centre into the area for Bilic to head into the net; Pure madness at the Molinón and calculators working overtime.
On the uphill, Etxeberria came in for Del Olmo with Sporting like fish in water when it came to enjoying room. Bilic didn’t take advantage of it in the minute 71 and the match definitely broke up, which is why each arrival was synonymous of danger. Iraola shot to the post in the 77 and coming out of a corner Amorebieta found himself with Cuellar’s save. Immediately following, Carmelo barely missed a cross from Bilic and at that time Preciado decided to cool the game down with the tools that all, or almost all, teams use; that is, lose time and make available substitutions. Luis Moran and Matabuena replaced Carmelo and Diego Castro, but they did not count on the fact that our team has great deficiencies but the virtue that makes them never give up even in the worse circumstances and today has not been an exception, for the joy of the hundreds of fans who had to put up with it until injury time. Ion Vélez shot from the edge of the area in the 90, but the ball was sent to corner. Susaeta took the corner, Etxeberria tipped it and Amorebieta scored, although a defence removed the ball from inside with the arm. Thank heavens that Iraola riveted the shot because seeing the report it seems Amorebieta’s play was not seen. A hard-earned goal, like the victory itself!