Athletic Club captured one point in Valladolid after a two-all draw in a mad match….
Athletic Club captured one point in Valladolid after a two-all draw in a mad match. Our goals being the work of Susaeta and Muniain, the youngest player to ever score in the Liga so far, and the local goals were scored by Diego Costa and Nivaldo. Everything began well, things got twisted with Llorente’s injury (he’s fine, but he’ll be spending the night in Valladolid) and Ustaritz’ send-off, and things got worse with the two goals scored by Valladolid in the second half, Muniain mended things shortly after and both teams even had opportunities until the end, when Athletic confronted the last ten minutes in numerical superiority. A draw that has put an end to the negative inertia and that leaves the team in a comfortable position after this upcoming break in the Liga, although things are tight on the table.
Athletic began the match with the sole objective of taking control, while Valladolid did so by trying to do damage with their offence. That’s how things were in minute 4 when Sisi shot wide. In the 5th, Toquero was off target with a header. Shortly after, Susaeta finished off strongly and trimming the post from outside the area, bringing joy to the crowds, once again jam-packed with our team’s followers. The 0-1 marked a positive tendency, but in the blink of an eye things began to take a turn for the worst; first, an air collision between Nivaldo and Llorente’s heads, with the worse consequences for the forward, who had to leave the field on a stretcher and will have to spend the night in hospital in Valladolid. Etxeberria came on the field and Nivaldo was booked with a yellow card, the first of an endless and sometimes inexplicable list. All in a match in which the great editorial writers and experts will have enough culture medium to assess performances.
And as anything that’s susceptible to get worse usually does, after a dangerous shot at goal by Sesma, Ustaritz was booked with a red card with rude edges. A ball bounced in front of him and later over him, Diego Costa, who was offside, got in the way and the struggle ended up in a foul at the edge of the area and Ustaritz was booked with a direct red. What’s strange about the play is that before the foul took place the assistant had already raised his flag, until Diego Costa insisted and didn’t make contact with the ball there was no off side call. Our player’s complaints were all in vain.
It was minute 22 of the game. Canobbio’s shot at goal was sent to the post and the vallisoletano dominion continued until the break, although it was during the long prolongation that Athletic suffered most with a shot taken by Borja and an extremely dangerous pass by Diego Costa who couldn’t find anyone to finish it off. In addition to the card collection, Athletic already had in its sack another new setback in the form of an injured Yeste, who had requested to be substituted before the sending-off. Etxeita took his place when minutes before, under normal circumstances, the one in charge of replacing him was going to be David López and in the end was left without the opportunity of playing.
In the rival squad Marcos was substituted by Barragán at the start of the second half period, in which Athletic got off to a good start by placing a high ball close to Gurpegi’s head under remarkable circumstances. As things were not going well for him, Mendilibar sent Manucho in to replace Borja. Soon afterwards the siege had given its fruits when an inward pass by Sisi left Diego Costa alone in front of Iraizoz and this time there was no mercy.
Cuesta up top and with signs of things to come getting worse as it became difficult for our team to advance. After having made two obligatory substitutions in 25 minutes, the third came about in minute 62 of the game when Muniain stepped in for Toquero. In spite of the draw Valladolid did not find it easy to reach the dominions of Iraizoz and then paradoxically found its way there when our team was looking most confident. It was minute 75 when Iraizoz did not calculate well in a frontal foul and the controversial Nivaldo headed the ball into the back of the net.
A quarter of an hour with a grey panorama, however, the final stretch had been of authentic madness and one could say that justice had been made with regards to the efforts and commitment shown by both contenders. No sooner had Marcos got the ball into play from the centre than he was given his second yellow card and Pablo Baraja was already getting ready to step onto the field to reinforce the defence. The kick off by Susaeta ended up a corner and after this was kicked it was cleared by a defender but did not go beyond the place where Muniain was, Munain had time to control the ball and beat the rival goalposts to equalize the tie and to become the youngest player in the history of the Liga to score a goal. Only sixteen years-old and so much to learn. Baraja did some warm-up exercises again.
Nevertheless, the madness did not stop here. Iraizoz rejected with his hand a good shot at goal fired away by Sesma and then Nivaldo received his second yellow card. For the first time, although only for ten minutes, the numerical superiority belonged to the red-whites. Javi Martinez just missed in the 80th minute and, at last, Baraja was sent in to replace Sisi. Valladolid, used to fighting under these circumstances, did not surrender and Sesma, offside, and Diego Costa, a good save by Iraizoz, had made Athletic worry.
Our team was very tired, but as soon as they combined sensibly a couple of times they found themselves standing in front of the rival area. That’s how things were; in minute 91 of the game Etxeberria empowered Munian against Jacobo, but his line shot did not beat the goalie.
In the end, the sharing of points that breaks the negative streak of this Liga which is making its way to becoming quite tight. Now a break to get one’s strength back, to re-charge the batteries and also to rest before confronting the second block of a season that is going to be very long and demanding. So far the evaluation is not bad.