Valencia 2-Athletic Club 0Athletic Club lost to Valencia in Mestalla by 2-0. The two local…
Valencia 2-Athletic Club 0
Athletic Club lost to Valencia in Mestalla by 2-0. The two local goals being scored by Silva and our team, despite all their good intentions, were unable to show enough ability when it came to reacting so as to score at the field of the team in third spot in the League, a kind of buffer between the dictatorship of the potent FC Barcelona and Real Madrid and the rest of the teams. Both teams confirmed their tendencies: Valencia standing firm at home and Athletic Club weak away from San Mamés, at least as far as the results are concerned. However, there was a certain move that could have got our team back into the fight for the points, but César got in the way. The only consolation is that Athletic are still sixth with there are still six match days to go before the end of the League, winning away from home would help a lot in achieving our European objective.
The match got underway with no one dominating, although Joaquín’s header, minute 7, repelled by Iraizoz, had the first opportunity to score. The reply was almost instantaneous with a line shot by Susaeta that was caught by César in the 10th minute and two minutes later Gabilondo came close to scoring, but the move was disallowed later as the linesman considered him to be offside.
Valencia got into trouble because of the difficulties they had when counterattacking, but they also knew how to exploit the virtues of their men in the midfield area who came forward when it came to executing their strategic moves, especially the corner kicks. If to this we add the statistics of the first half (ten corners in favour of Valencia and none for Athletic) we could see that the probabilities of scoring were more inclined towards one of two goal areas, as despite combining well at times, all the red-white attempts came to nothing in front of the rival goal area.
To find a clear goal-scoring occasion we must go forward in time until the half hour mark, when Baraja finished off a shot at goal with a header, but the ‘che’ superiority was clear, mostly because the rival response that was too timid could be seen and, as well, because just as that old French saying goes “the pitcher goes to the well so often that it eventually breaks”. In fact that’s how it was and it cost us dearly. In the 35th minute Silva scored, after a clearance by Iraizoz from a corner kick, the first goal (1-0). The circumstance of having a goal scored against us from a corner kick being almost exceptional to date this season. The truth is that Silva scored and even though the locals kept on looking up, Banega took a high shot in the 37th, the last occasion was for the Red-Whites, however, without causing any trouble for the rivals.
The second half got underway without any substitutions. Earlier, in the starting eleven line up, our coach had introduced some notable innovations, Ustaritz as a centre and David Lopéz as the right winger. The latter being one of the protagonists of the substitutions that took place in the 53rd minute: Iturraspe and Yeste, stepping in for David Lopéz and Gabilondo. The only change to field positioning was when Gurpegi was sent behind to the right wing.
In a few minutes we had gone from hope to disappointment. Athletic Club had their opportunity in a good counterblow move in the 56th minute, with Susaeta’s shot to the centre being finished off with a Llorente header that met up with César’s gloves and ended with the ball being sent to corner. The match was open and, despite the risk, leaving gaps as a result of offensive inertia was the only possibility of coming up with something. Unfortunately the worst happened and did so without time for Valencia to understand what was going on, as in the 62nd minute Villa passed the ball to Silva who was inside the area and Silva, after turning around, sent the ball to the back of the net with a great left kick.
Then our team were unable to react in general and only a couple of sparks flew that did not enable the team to get back into the encounter: in the 71st a nice move down the left wing by Susaeta ended up being a corner kick and then sailed over the crossbar in the subsequent shot of two red-white forwards. Clearer even still was the opportunity that came knocking in the 72nd, with Llorente having combed a centre coming from the left and passing the ball to Susaeta, but his volley came up against César who had come forward quickly to the joy of the local fans.
A little earlier De Cerio’s comeback to the pitch had come about, when he substituted Javi Martínez, who had already been shown an absurd yellow card in the first half. With Gurpegi returning to the double pivot position.
As far as Emery was concerned, he chose to think about future battles and his desire for peace of mind was provided with the inestimable collaboration of an Athletic team that were more willing than able to do things right and that’s how it must be in order to score. Domínguez replaced Villa; Marchena replaced Bruno and with three minutes still to go Mata stepped in for Vicente, while seconds earlier Koikili was shown his fifth yellow card forcing him to take a break against Zaragoza.
Unfortunately the team is coming back home without any points and this time without any applicable palliative aspects to this defeat and now we must make an appeal for steadfastness at San Mamés, four matches out of six to be played at home, to be able to leave the European options in our hands.