Athletic Club VS Atlético de Madrid 23/5/2009 | Athletic Club’s Official Website
Matchday 37

Athletic Club1 : 4Atlético de Madrid

Raúl García59'
San Mamés
Date and time
23/5/2009 - 21:00

Athletic Club 1 – Atlético Madrid 4: Too hard a punishment

Athletic Club lost 1-4 before Atlético Madrid. All the goals arrived in the second half….

23 de may. de 2009

Athletic Club lost 1-4 before Atlético Madrid. All the goals arrived in the second half. Etxeita scored our team’s only goal and Forlán (3) and Raul Garcia for the visitors.

Athletic Club has demonstrated in this its Liga farewell in San Mamés, some of their virtues and some of their defects. The best of which has been their dedication, comparable to that of the stands, their desire to fight, their pressure on the rival, their use of strategy, their professionalism as they had already demonstrated last Sunday in Montjuic… The worse of which, it is necessary to bring up their lack of definition which forces them to create countless occasions in order to score, their defensive lagoons that together with the quality of some rivals cause goals out of nowhere, their confusion in clear-cut plays and, why not say it as well, since now it is anecdotal and in future it’s yet to be seen, their bad luck in their own area, so much so that even slips become penalties, against of course, which will be analyzed by the all-so-wise experts in the matter, as could not be any other way to shut the blinds and look ahead to Valencia (Liga).

An encounter with a good atmosphere, until those of the Frente Atlético appeared in the style which can be read in many businesses and that start with ‘We are having a good day today, they’ll see….’ All this, despite the requests made to Atlético Madrid, written even, by our organization for them not to attend. In vain, for what was ultimately decided. The team wanted to see off their home tour with a victory and thereby prolong their honeymoon with the fans of the last few months, but it hasn’t been possible in spite of the desire shown and, also, in spite of the deserved merits.

Although the rival team was gambling a seat to dispute the Champions League qualifying round, which it almost has in its pocket, at times it seemed that it was our team who had the responsibility to achieve this. Athletic has gone after Atlético from the beginning, without inhibitions, but the great virtue of the rival was the quality of the Agüero-Forlán tandem, especially the second and at times the contest appeared to be two-legged: Heintinga with a header, a possible penalty on Toquero, a shot by Susaeta to Leo Franco’s hands, a forced finish by Javi Martinez from a free-kick that barely missed wide, a drop pass by Forlán which Agüero shot on goal from close range, a header from close up by Gurpegi which didn’t precisely take the ideal direction and another header, this time by Kun, just over the crossbar with everything in favour in the minute 34, perhaps the clearest attempt of the first half.

The scoreboard was even, as was the game and opportunities, but with greater rojiblanco drive thanks to the endless balls stolen in the midfield. The tendency has been clearer on restart of play with a beginning that has ignited San Mamés and that in five minutes, from the 51 to 56, revealed three clear occasions by Llorente. The first two in individual one-on-ones saved by Leo Franco and an even clearer third, with the attack of Toquero down the right and the cross to an unmarked Llorente, who only had to push it in, but his left-footed shot missed wide, not by much, but wide.

And that’s when everything began to get twisted, so much so that in just a half hour five goals have been seen. The funny thing is that Atlético obtained its four goals with no need for spectacular plays or combinations, which is not to say that their execution has been very good. For starters, in the minute 59, Raul Garcia found himself with a rebound at the edge of the area and his left-footed volley has been unreachable for Iraizoz.

The response was not made to wait, since the recently entered Etxeberria crossed a corner in the minute 66 and Etxeita debuted as Athletic goal-scorer in an official match with a near-post header. However, just seven minutes later appeared Forlán, a serious contender of the golden boot. As had already happened to Atlético a couple of weeks ago against Espanyol, it has been enough that the Uruguayan forward (at the beginning of the decade when he was still with Manchester United he was offered to Athletic on the basis of some alleged Basque ancestors) took the team on his shoulders and has been at the right place at the right time to decide the match.

In the 1-2 Amorebieta cut down a ball at the edge of the area, but the ball ran loose and Forlán, who was moving forward, made the shot unstoppable for Iraizoz. Four minutes later a ball disputed in air has fallen behind Gurpegi and his quality and left-foot have done the rest.

And to round off the day in the today’s draw for the euro-penalty an out and out slip, so as to have gotten hurt, has been indicated as a penalty, a circumstance which Forlán himself recognized, in any case, a play which experts in the matter will analyze only if it’s good for an editorial. The abovementioned and an off target shot by Raul have been all the danger the opponents created, but they did not need more than to demonstrate their quality in defining and that’s what they did. Too hard a punishment, but, as they say, ‘we learn something new every day’. We’ll need to not only to finish the Liga in Valencia, but in view of the upcoming season.