Mallorca 2-Athletic Club 0Athletic Club were defeated by Mallorca by 2-0. Julio Álvarez, whose shot…
Mallorca 2-Athletic Club 0
Athletic Club were defeated by Mallorca by 2-0. Julio Álvarez, whose shot at goal had rebounded off Amorebieta’s back, and then Aduriz, whose shot at goal had struck San José on the leg elevating the ball over Iraizoz’s head, these two players were the local goal-scorers, both goals having been scored in the second half. The end, as a result, of a positive streak in away games and the consolidation of the local team’s winning streak, with eight triumphs out of eight matches played at Son Moix. On this occasion one could say that those who are higher up in the standings were lucky, especially at crucial times, but also that they were a team that had more get up and go than ours, especially during the second half.
The encounter accompanied by a cold afternoon, weather-wise as you would expect in January, and with regards to football an afternoon without much pace, especially from our perspective, weighed down in part also because of the large number of bookings. At times it seemed that history would repeat itself, sap in the first half and greater definition on behalf of the Red-Whites (who were in blue and white at Son Moix) in the second half. This wasn’t to be so we’ll have to wait for our next trip to make things look up.
Rubén was shown the yellow card in the ninth minute and so too Aduriz two minutes later. That’s how the summary of the match could be started because these were the only novelties worth mentioning in the first quarter of an hour and a bit later… as well. Both teams had placed all their heavy artillery in the midfield area and that made it difficult to make runs to either of the goal areas. Respect could be the word or, perhaps, to see it coming is the right expression to describe the way things were, after two weeks of talking about streaks of the other team and vice-versa. Following a new booking, against Borja Valero, and while the locals protested to the referee, Llorente was pushed in the area in minute 28 of the game when he was just about to finish off a centre pass from Gurpegi, though the person is charge of refereeing the affair made obvious gestures that made it quite clear that there had been no infringement.
More than half an hour into the game and without much work for the goalies, San José was the first Athletic player to get a yellow card and the number of centres cautioned was even, one each, the equilibrium was re-established.
The match was an open affair at times, without anything to boast about, although it wasn’t until minute 35 of the game that the first clear goal-scoring opportunity could be registered which came about due to an anticipated clearance by Rubén on his own side of the field that ended up at the feet of Aduriz, but his shot with the left missed. On behalf of Athletic Club, Llorente, under pressure, was unable to finish off a volley from a rehearsed foul kick move in the 38th. Apart from this a gallop by Javi Martínez, ended up a corner just before a deadly pass was kicked, and this was our team’s only offensive contribution during the first half. On behalf of the local squad Aduriz did a repeat in the 41st minute, on this occasion with a header that was well caught by Iraizoz.
Half time had arrived without substitutions. Following the interval the pace at the re-start was even slower and duller than in the first half. Nevertheless, ever since the game of football was invented there is always an endless list of variants that, among other things, make thousands of people wait for what could happen and then did happen when Julio Álvarez fired away from outside the area in the 48th minute with his weaker leg and what had looked like a bland ball destined to be a goal kick or to end up dying in Iraizoz’s gloves was converted into goal, 1-0, after having bounced off the back of Amorebieta until deceitfully finding its way to the back of the net.
As it never rains but pours and as our team’s age-old tradition goes, when an unforeseen event takes place this is usually followed by moments of anxiety. During which Aduriz kicked a line shot and the ball once again struck Amorebieta, this time on the leg, though Iraizoz could, with his foot, avoid what seemed to be the second local goal of the evening.
Unfortunately this was the start of another match in which Athletic Club is not used to playing of late. Mallorca, in a style akin to our team’s with regards to knowing what it’s doing and what has to be done, were just like a pig in the mud, as they had opportunities and were willing to make the most out of exploiting the gaps. For example, in the 56th minute once more Aduriz had a good goal-scoring opportunity, but Iraizoz was quick off the mark when it came to deflecting the ball with his hand, maybe, considering that there were no obstacles between the striker and the goalkeeper.
For this new twist to the match Caparrós opted for replacing the two players on the wing with those from the centre, Gurpegi and Yeste, with De Marcos and Muniain taking their place. Susaeta was sent to cover the right wing and De Marcos was sent to play alongside Llorente.
And to be honest Athletic was about to give the game another approach in the 65th minute. A quick, vertical, and almost perfectly executed counterattack move which ended up in the rival area as a result of Javi Martínez’s pass to Llorente, but the latter instead of taking a shot at goal chose to swerve Aouate and take a tough shot at goal with the left. Regrettably Josemi was fast to repel, with his head, the ball from under the posts.
Winner’s luck or not, the truth is that in the 66th minute, practically in the subsequent play, Julio Álvarez made a lively run whilst in the company of three rivals and with a mixture of class, an intentional roulette and a lucky roulette wheel to boot, combined with the fact that Amorebieta took a risk and was late for the attempted shot that was to follow and then Valero’s pass to Aduriz left the latter alone in front of Iraizoz, however, his shot at goal had rebounded off San José’s leg and as a result the ball had gone higher than expected, with such bad luck that the ball fell right into our goal.
Two-nil. Those are strong words in light of what could be seen, a match torn in two, with Javi Martínez closer to the rival area than his own and with Etxeberria already on the pitch instead of Susaeta. With everything in their favour, even the rebounds seemed to favour Manzano’s men, such as the one that left Castro alone in front of Iraizoz, although the goalie deflected the ball with his foot. Bad news when it came to attempting a come back even if it was just by our goalkeeper, but this was the price we had to pay.
The final countdown, Llorente finished off with a header but the ball went straight to Aouate’s hands in the 83rd minute and Muniain did the same from outside the area during injury time. It wasn’t our day; let’s hope it will be in Malaga, our next opponent in the League.