Athletic Club - Valencia CF
Matchday 13

Athletic Club - Valencia CF

Athletic Club
Athletic Club
Valencia CF
Valencia CF
  • 58' Muniain
  • Villa 61'
  • Mathieu 83'

LocationSan Mamés , Bilbo

Athletic Club 1 Valencia 2: Too many buts

Athletic Club lost against Valencia CF by 1-2, the goals the work of Muniain for…

Athletic Club

Athletic Club lost against Valencia CF by 1-2, the goals the work of Muniain for our team and Villa and Mata on behalf of the visiting squad. A match in which a draw would have perfectly reflected the number and the clarity of the goal-scoring opportunities that both teams had and in which there were too many adversities which we had to fight against, besides the resistance of a good rival today such as Valencia with their mixture of talent and experience, in the most generous and broadest sense of the word.

The experts who hand out justice have everything. Willing to ask, in accordance with which glasses they are using, all of them can write their own Christmas card to the Olentzero: the treatment of the double cards, flying hands, if Muniain committed a foul in the goal area against a built-in wardrobe, if the penalty to follow that was missed by David López was really a penalty. In the end, nothing new, but it’s a shame because the one point, beyond its numerical importance, is valuable to a team that started off young and ended up even younger, but a team that knows how to face up and create goal-scoring opportunities right until the very end. The most immediate objective is to score in Zaragoza so that the League road is not a question of streaks.

Meanwhile, both teams had quickly put their cards on the table for the last match of the thirteenth League match day round. Our team did not want any surprises in the shape of counterattacks and did their job accordingly with an orderly withdrawal that left no space behind the centres. Not in vain, reviewing the Levantine squad’s previous matches revealed that the majority of their goals were scored in this way.
On the contrary, Valencia did not want any surprises in strategy and did their job accordingly with practical examples, from the very first play, which were very well rehearsed in every way. Not in vain, reviewing the Red-White team’s previous matches revealed that most of our goals scored were done so in this way. For this reason we can only jot down as possible goal-scoring opportunities the following; a shot at goal taken under pressure by Mata from a pass to the centre by Pablo Hernández and a high shot at goal by Yeste and perhaps another deflected by De Marcos.

Athletic, along with the rival’s opposition, found themselves in trouble all too soon as a result of injury: Llorente suffered a blow to the iliac crest, a big blow and in minute 30 of the game he had to be substituted by De Marcos. The newcomer to the field was positioned up front alongside Susaeta. Next to him, the novelties in the rest of the line up with regards to last Thursday’s odyssey in Austria were Koikili, Orbaiz and David López. To make things worse Susaeta suffered a blow, a big blow from Joaquín in a move where the yellow card was shown and even though he stayed on field until the interval, his right thigh got cold and it was already very difficult for him to keep on, which is why Muniain replaced him in the 47th minute.

Up until then the spectacle was like a game of chess, but who says that timing your movements to stop the rival from doing their movements is not part of the show. And what’s more if we should mention that things got hotter as the minutes ticked on, as of the 55th minute other less controllable and foreseeable kinds of ingredients were introduced.
All of sudden the match had revved up. During the already mentioned minute Koikili was shown his first yellow card and Joaquín intercepted a ball with his hand, intentionally as ruled by the referee, but the referee did not see what seemed to be the foreseeable second yellow card.

Sixty seconds later Villa was alone in front of Iraizoz, but his chip shot wasn’t good enough or he was too confident. The outcome being that the ball ended up in Iraizoz’s hands. Almost in the move that was to follow, a pass to the centre of the area by De Marcos was controlled by Javi Martínez, who on the half turn finished off with a volley taken with the right; César repelled the ball and Muniain who was quick and smart enough to steal the well-built defender’s wallet scored the 1-0. Unfortunately, the lead only lasted three minutes. A good pass by Pablo Hernández to the so-called second post was finished off by Villa with a volley and the ball, after bouncing on the lawn, found the back of the net.

Once again the score on the board was equal, but the match was still in play. A complete re-organization of the field positions in light of the final stretch, Amorebieta cleared unintentionally towards his own goal in the 62nd, Iturraspe replaced Orbaiz in the 63rd and Koikili was shown his second yellow card, therefore also the red one, in the 75th minute. David López was sent to the left wing and De Marcos to the right midfield area with Muniain on his own as the offensive midfielder.

Villa’s threat had also spread to the throw ins and Emery, just in case, killed two birds with one stone, by sending Zigic in for the hypothetical siege upfront and to release Joaquín in case someone was tempted to show him his second yellow card. As though the difficulties that were accumulating were not enough, things were to become even more difficult, Mathieu pulled a rabbit out of his hat and scored a goal, seeing that after Iraizoz had cleared a centre shot from the area, Mathieu’s volley made it through the only gap there was.

With only ten minutes left to the match and as Athletic is not a team known for throwing in the towel, they went on to get good field position and add more pace to their game, especially in attack, despite the numerical inferiority. Baraja was already on the playing pitch to replace Dealbert so as to strengthen the central area with more authority.
In full offence, a precious goal by Iraola, with his head, had been disallowed; Iraola was offside when Iturraspe had passed the ball to him. Nevertheless, the referee called penalty for the umpteenth time that Navarro had used his arm or elbow to stop the rival from jumping for the ball.

Debatable penalty depending on ones point of view, and if this were not bad enough, more bad luck because David López’s shot at goal had struck the goal post in the 86th minute. He was downfallen, just as the rest of the team and those in the stands were, but before encouraging him in the changing room, everyone had had time to keep Valencia in their own area and Muniain also had time to plant himself in front of César in minute ninety of the game, but the goalie locked the gate when the young striker had an even better opportunity to pass the ball behind towards Iraola. In addition, and in for a penny, in for a pound, Iraizoz left his goal area to finish off the last two corners and one of them just missed. An epic climax after which the fans in the stands were able to acknowledge the efforts of each and every player throughout the encounter.

Let’s see if this trip up and the injury list can be put aside for the three matches still to be played this year and let’s hope that Athletic are not suffering now that they are functioning especially as a team.