Real Zaragoza - Athletic Club
Matchday 14

Real Zaragoza - Athletic Club

Real Zaragoza
Real Zaragoza
Athletic Club
Athletic Club
  • 91' Diogo
  • San José 61'
  • Susaeta 81'

LocationLa Romareda , Zaragoza

Zaragoza 1 Athletic Club 2: Serious and spot on

Athletic Club beat Zaragoza by 1-2 with the goals being scored by San José and…

Athletic Club

Athletic Club beat Zaragoza by 1-2 with the goals being scored by San José and Susaeta, whereas Diogo scored on behalf of the locals, all of them in the second half. It was a difficult and tough match that was also well-played by our team. Athletic have already accumulated four league triumphs away from San Mamés and our rivals have real difficulties in creating goal-scoring opportunities. On the other hand, the effectiveness when approaching the goal with one type or other type of striker is undeniable and once in the lead the matches are controlled with relative competence. With matches against Werder Bremen and Osasuna still left in an intense 2009, we already have 23 points in the bag, that’s to say, half of the points needed that will lead us down the road towards peace of mind and create a distance between us and those teams at the bottom, a difference in points which is increasing each time. Furthermore, just as in Santander, the triumph meant the local coach’s dismissal; though in this case there were other influencing factors involved. The negative side, Castillo’s injury and Amorebieta and Susaeta’s suspensions for the accumulation of bookings.

A good start to the encounter for the Red-Whites, as a Gurpegi header found the back of the net only two minutes into the game, but unfortunately it was disallowed as the player was offside. Both teams came out determined to win the match. Zaragoza, without a doubt, more under pressure because of the few points had and because of the tense situation the club is experiencing. Athletic were calmer because points don’t bring happiness, but do help. Each ball was a treasure waiting to be found and every move was a real fight. So much so that in the 17th minute the referee had already left a trail of bookings. In the 7th minute Ayala was cautioned, followed by Amorebieta -bringing about his suspension – with Iraola and Toquero’s names also on the caution list.

Lacking in opportunities, the duel had a lot of ingredients, a lot of people in the stands with hundred of Red-White fans, cries against the local president and in favour of the coach, tension, fighting spirit…. Zaragoza had the initiative and ball possession, but this is not always a synonym of success, however our team couldn’t find the right key to push in order the make their rival a bit more doubtful. For example a couple of counter-attacks by Llorente showed that despite doing his best in many aerial shots it simply wasn’t his day. Following another yellow card, in this case shown to Ponzio, Zaragoza, due to their inertia almost and in fits and starts, had had their best minutes, at least when it came to applying the pressure to Athletic’s structured defence.

That’s how things were; the biggest danger throughout the entire clash came about in a muddled move in the 43rd minute. Iraizoz crashed into Lafita in an attempt to clear the ball with his fists and in the subsequent monumental mess originating from Iraola, the goalie had to repel three point-blank shots at goal from the Zaragoza players. The match was still open at the start of the second half.

After the interval, Etxeita stepped in for the injured Castillo and had to fight it out on the left wing. Zaragoza’s Ander replaced Gabi. Positioned in the inside left area, while Jorge López went to the double pivot position. For want of nothing, a new card for the collection, in this case awarded to Orbaiz. Nothing new under cold conditions, seeing that the equilibrium was the prevailing trend… up until the recently reached 60 minute mark of the game.

All of a sudden the match became clear. Muniain replaced Llorente and soon after stepping onto the field took a shot at goal with his back facing the goal and the ball was badly cleared by the local goalie, he did a half turn and his magnificent centre pass was finished off just as well by San José, who is also proving to be a good striker. His header resulted in the 0-1 score on the scoreboard and made the tension at La Romareda even worse.

Soon Toquero was to finish off a solitary counter-attack move with a line shot straight to the hands of López Vallejo and in the 66th minute Arizmendi had a clearer opportunity to equalize the encounter, but Iraizoz caught the header whilst under the posts. Marcelino had spent his last bullet, never better said, and Ewerthon stepped onto the field in Pennant’s place sending Arizmendi to cover the right. Susaeta was again positioned in that zone after a fleeting pass from Muniain from the left wing and, the change was the key when it came to defence and the counterattacks being more effective.

Zaragoza kept trying, without much thought and the high balls in the area were easy prey for the Red-White defensive system. Athletic, on the contrary, found more gaps and already knew where the most harm could be done. Needless to say in the 72nd minute Susaeta and Muniain connected in a good counter-attack play, but were not spot on during the last pass or the shot at goal to follow. It was, nevertheless, a premonition. Shortly afterwards Iraola wasn’t able to convert a centre pass by Toquero into goal and in the rivals’ attempt to respond a tight volley by Paredes from outside the area had struck a defender.

In minute 81 of the game and in the middle of circumstances that were out of control, a counter-attack started by San José, kept going by Muniain and, after good back up, finished off with his left by Susaeta, Athletic had put the match on the right tracks and the cries against the local president got louder with the jubilation of the Athletic fans as a backdrop. To be honest, the internal problems of yesterday’s hosts resulted in the evening being one of the least hostile away from San Mamés.

Gabilondo stepped in for Toquero and Susaeta was shown his fifth yellow card. The remaining time had passed without any frights and when least expected, during injury time, a great left taken from a long distance by Diogo, after rebounding off Martínez and Amorebieta; had found its way through Iraizoz’s goalposts. In spite of everything, there is no time to wind down, let’s hope this is the start of a new positive streak and it’s just that besides being effective, the team already transmits the sensation of consistency and this is very important. Now all we have to do, is end the year by enjoying our European standing and by trying to prop up our League point tally.