Osasuna and Athletic Club drew at one all in the first leg of the Copa…
Osasuna and Athletic Club drew at one all in the first leg of the Copa Round of sixteen. Pandiani, in the minute 83, and Llorente, in the 93, have been the authors of the goals in a match that seemed condemned to be a goalless draw, with more emotion than game; a draw with goals that can be considered positive in view of the second leg in San Mamés. In a clash with few occasions, perhaps the rojiblancos deserved somewhat more in the first half and the rojillos more in the second.
Athletic Club started off very well-positioned on the field, to a great extent making difficult the anticipated initial avalanche by Osasuna. In fact, there have been no approaches until Ezquerro finished off with a header over the crossbar at the quarter hour of play. Nevertheless, some things worth mentioning were already occurring, though perhaps less tangible. In the minute 7, Sergio committed a textbook penalty on Susaeta, of those to be taught as an example at refereeing schools. And on a day with few things to report any occurrence made us consider past episodes; for example, the incident with the same referee in the Bernabéu. Also, in the minute ten of play the assistant, as the referee did not see it, booked Gurpegi with a yellow, leaving the player from Andosilla pulling on the hand brake in a match with a lot of contact. Our players also asked for another penalty for possible holding on Ion Vélez, but also in vain. Something similar happened to our team in each one of the counterattacks and attacks, they died of starvation and from which we only rescued a pass by Vélez that found no striker and a high header by Gurpegi.
Osasuna, on the contrary, in addition to similar problems with a harder and harder playing field, created anxiety in several lateral fouls and again by means of Ezquerro, whose shot went high in the minute 34, although Masoud also tested the goalmouth in the minute 36, but the defence came to the rescue. The Iranian began in the left, changed to the midfield and ended up in the right.
Half of the work was done, now came the hardest part. Osasuna came out fitter in the second half and in ten minutes Vadocz softly finished off a header pass, Ezquerro a line drive barely off target and Nekounam very good shot from outside the area, but high. After this attempt, Toquero replaced Ion Vélez. He was making his debut in the Copa, as was Balenziaga.
In that context of local hounding we saw one of the most peculiar scenes of the match. In the absence of snowflakes given the reigning cold, or perhaps for that reason, the fans took as an excuse an alleged foul by Amorebieta, not indicated either by the referee or the assistant, to start showing white handkerchiefs and white plastic bags. As if what happened in the first half had not existed.
Portillo finished off with a wide header in the 63rd, but Osasuna’s offense was no longer such. There were still 25 minutes of play and Camacho introduced Pandiani and Delporte for Ezquerro and Juanfran, changing Masoud to the right. Caparrós took out Orbaiz and in came Gurpegi and the most spirited Osasuna fans, as we said earlier for the lack of plays certain sensations were reminisced, joined the fray in what was already parked even at the most inclined fields, the insults to the Navarrese player, Carlos Gurpegi; a sign that things are becoming excessively bitter.
On the field, Iraola had the chance of the match. Susaeta shot a corner and once he got past Ricardo, Iraola shot on goal with cannon precision, bouncing downwards, but the ball bounced so hard on the pitch that it went over the crossbar. Unbelievable!
Athletic appeared to have gotten over the storm and after a line drive by Portillo, which Iraizoz blocked, the ball circulated rather far from the rojiblanco goalkeeper. Etxeita had already replaced an afflicted Ocio, but Pandiani continued his good run. It was the minute 83 and Athletic had not shown great reaction capacity. For a while the ghosts of the last Copa edition appeared, when after a pretty much controlled match Racing scored a 2-0 in the final stretch. It did not happen this time when in the 92nd the recently entered Sunny shot wide and in the latter play Gabilondo stole a ball at midfield, he passed to Susaeta, who opened to the right wing and the cross by Iraola was forcefully finished off by Toquero. Ricardo deflected, but precisely a player from Irun, Llorente, also longed for a goal and he scored a very important one that leaves the doors to the quarterfinals open.
The team continues without losing and on Sunday the Liga returns in the Calderón, but that is another story.