Athletic Club - Tromsø IL
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Athletic Club - Tromsø IL

Athletic Club
Athletic Club
Tromsø IL
Tromsø IL
  • 62' J.Martínez (p.)
  • 86' De Marcos
  • 90' Llorente
  • Moldskred 42'
  • Lindpere 78'

LocationSan Mamés , Bilbo

Athletic Club 3 – Tromsø 2: Still Alive in Europa

Athletic Club has defeated Tromsø by 3-2. The goals have been the work of Javi…

Athletic Club

Athletic Club has defeated Tromsø by 3-2. The goals have been the work of Javi Martinez, penalty, De Marcos and Llorente and thanks to this the round is confronted differently, more so after seeing how the match took place, since just five minutes before regulation time our team was behind 1-2. A result that didn’t do justice to what was being witnessed, especially in the second half, but which complicated things for permanence in the Europa League. Because, whatever happens and despite the topics spread to the contrary, Athletic has already been playing the cited competition since the 30th of July. It’s like when they say that Muniain, who today debuted as a starter, is the youngest player in making a debut or that our team was going to play donning the black kit in San Mamés.

It will don this colour near the Arctic Circle, but since today the match pointed toward that tendency. In a sluggish first half on the part of Athletic, to the lack of pace and local challenge, ahead was the tactical discipline, simplicity as a virtue, self-confidence when it came to shooting and the Norwegian’s effectiveness. Too many similarities for the match to not resemble the first half against the Young Boys, with the only exception that this time Athletic had a plan, not very well executed, but it was a plan. This plan was to keep possession of the ball, look for room, change the direction of the ball and avoid the one-on-one aerials, logically, in strategic plays. The team can be blamed for not having pace and depth, but in this match nobody can scorn them for not having possession of the ball.

It was the second appointment of the Aste Nagusia and, finally, San Mamés has celebrated a victory, not exempt from suffering from the start, because as mentioned, the visitors knew what they came for and what they wanted. Their 4-4-2 resembled at times a group of football-7 players with perfectly defined positions and in the last bar two styles: Rushfeldt’s experience and Moldskred’s speed perfectly in unison. To make matters worse, far from locking up, Tromsø hit first and in addition it wasn’t afraid to shoot from any position no matter how far it was, and they profited from that courage. Knarvik and Iraizoz were up against each other in the minutes 2 and 23, with victory for the goalie, pyrrhic for what was seen later, though the response was faint: Javi Martinez out of the blue and from a distance in the 8th and Muniain’s one-on-one with the goalie was good for him in the 28. In the second interchange of shots, in less time, the winner has been Tromsø. If in the 36th, Moldskred came across Iraizoz, in the 41st he overtook him after an endless diagonal from right to left and a tight ground-level shot to the base of the post.

Before the interval, De Marcos finished off the umpteenth ball wide coming from an attack down the right and Muniain shot straight into the goalie’s hands. The balance was rather heartless, why fool ourselves.
In second half, the first minutes accentuated the parallelism of the match with which the competition was inaugurated against the Young Boys. More so when after a few minutes of perplexity Athletic sounded the alarm claiming a penalty on Iraola, De Marcos finishes off wide with his left and, on the hour of play, a penalty on Javi Martinez. The difference is that the penalty was converted into goal by Javi himself and everything changed. First because Athletic persisted and on the same drive they had enough fuel for Llorente to have a clear penalty conceded in the 64, with the consequent red card though not shown, and shortly after he headed in at the hands of Ramovic. Toquero substituted Muniain and just as he came on the field he finished off, point-blank, a pass from Llorente but Ramovic made the save in the 75, who by the way also saved a header in the 76.

Triangulations were the norm, recoveries in the mid field a constant, the ball was not squandered and the second goal was foreseen. And that’s how it was, with the ‘small’ set back that the goal was for the rival on their first approach in the second half. Like a bucket of cold water, so as to not use less rhetorical and more painful terms, things got so complicated that just five minutes from regulation time Athletic needed a 0-2 in Tromsø to progress.

However, Athletic has deficiencies, but also virtues that adorn them and make them unpredictable, it’s about pride, the will to overcome adversities and also the quality they exhibit at specific moments. In six minutes, they Athletic went from needing a 0-2 to needing ‘only’ a draw in Tromsø, although rounding off the match would have been the perfect recipe.

The goal by Lindpere, also with a distant level shot, was the prologue to Iturraspe substituting Yeste, of a spectacular but unproductive Chilean shot-on-goal by Martinez and Susaeta’s substitution by David Lopez. Both were quite tired; however at the same time recently incorporated Oscar de Marcos has been the one to boost San Mamés in the minute 85 with an awesome goal in the only possible hole he had open. In a more relaxed evening it would have been a white-handkerchief goal, but things were not that simple.

Upon re-start the whistling of the first half became spirit chants as recognition to better team work and in the final stretch this unleashed into compensation. Despite it all, the relationship between relaxation and victory is not very affluent in our team and the state of things is more a love between suffering and joy, in that order. The more pessimistic saw a high header by Koppinen in the 89 as the last nail and the more optimistic were able to see them pull off the goal. It was the minute 90 when Toquero centred from the left and Llorente, with a perfect header, scored his second official goal of the season: both headers, both in European competition and both of great importance, though as he himself recognizes, he’s got a ways to go to have luckier afternoon-evenings.

Madness in the stands, justice in the match and another opportunity, this time for De Marcos with Ramovic in the way, even though a fourth goal would have topped things off. It’s not a bad result after the fact, but surely that being in the Group Phase Athletic will make it after a good dose of suffering. For now, another ‘easy’ challenge on Sunday in the Camp Nou: the Supercopa.