Athletic Club - FK Austria Wien
Matchday 1

Athletic Club - FK Austria Wien

Athletic Club
Athletic Club
FK Austria Wien
FK Austria Wien
  • 8' Llorente (p.)
  • 24' Llorente
  • 56' Muniain

LocationSan Mamés , Bilbo

Athletic Club 3 – FK Austria 0: Great Match!

Athletic Club beat FK Austria Wien 3-0 (Llorente x2, Muniain) in the first matchday of…

Athletic Club

Athletic Club beat FK Austria Wien 3-0 (Llorente x2, Muniain) in the first matchday of the UEFA Europa League Group Stage, a competition in which, so far, they have only lost one of the five matches played, precisely on their debut on 30 July.

It has rained since then and the environment has gone through countless moods, although it seems that now, by dint of scoring and not conceding, fortunately, calm reigns in the red and white universe. And in the midst of this bonanza, it is appropriate to point out what has happened so many times before: the team needs patience, to live with the context they are in, that is to say, a large dose of realism, and to be analysed with caution when things are not going well and when they seem to be going in the best possible way. The match against the Austrians can be placed in the latter, hopefully bottomless, and serves to bring up a number of issues from the side of the scales.

For example, it seems that the team has gained strength at San Mamés and, on the other hand, has two tough bones to crack in a week at La Catedral (Villarreal and Sevilla). What’s more, the team has gone three consecutive matches without conceding goals, but this is not always going to be the case. Athletic Club have played excellent football in many phases of the game, but not all their opponents press or position themselves in the same way and things don’t always go their way. Of course, we will be told that Austria are practically a seven-a-side team, but that is far from being the case. Athletic tried to play like that against Tromsö, but lacked speed and spark. It can simply be deduced that our team is now fitter, more confident and that, if we continue to overcome obstacles, motivation will increase in crescendo.

Looking for ingredients such as revenge seems to appeal too much to historical memory to play football, especially when it was an epidemic overconfidence and an alarming self-sufficiency that put our team out of the competition. Almost five years is a long time ago, and the only thing that seems to remain anchored in time is the look and the manners of the feisty visitors, who on this occasion have had the invaluable collaboration of colleagues who are already well known in these parts.

From the opening whistle, the game had the look of a goal for Athletic. There was a sense of imminent danger and before the first one had even materialised not even six referees (the crowd, perfect, hardly noticed their presence) would have agreed in the eighth minute to say whether Susaeta’s fall inside the area was a penalty. It didn’t look like it, but even if they are busy now, the learned experts will surely be able to tell us for sure. Llorente, who had already threatened in the 3rd minute, bore the cross that the penalty taker has been carrying of late and scored, ergo he will have another chance.

It was the necessary element to face the match from the calm, from the triangulation, from the ball at grass level that seems to have settled and from the right with a vertical Susaeta. On the left Muniain was in the mix and the young striker from Navarre was getting better and better as the minutes went by, he focused a little and cleared the horizon of opponents.
The game, despite being a league format, was more like a cup tie than a comeback, and Austria twice had the chance to get into the game. Before the 2-0 lead, Diabang, in the 16th minute, made Gorka Iraizoz look good and, after the second home goal thanks to a huge volley by Llorente after a pass from Susaeta, Diabang got in front of Iraizoz in the 35th minute with relative ease, but the latter’s “Argentinian-like” exit prevented any nerves from spreading. The warning served as a wake-up call and Llorente’s header failed to find a finisher, while Muniain, already on fire, sent a low shot against the post in the 38th minute. Athletic had been the better side throughout the first half, but there was still plenty of time to go.

The restart left little room for doubt as Austria did not change their approach: crouched at the back and waiting for a counter-attack that did not come. Yeste almost scored from a free kick in the 50th minute, Llorente was unsuccessful shortly after, but in the 55th minute the red and whites put the third goal on the scoreboard and closed the game, which allowed them to dose the odd effort and the coach to take minutes off one or other player without all this leading to a decrease in the game, at times brilliant, as for example could be seen in the aforementioned goal. Iraola went deep down the centre, Muniain found a ball that was going to Etxeberria, he left it to the captain, the latter opened up for Iraola who was already coming in from the left and in front of the goalkeeper’s exit he passed to Muniain and the latter scored almost into an empty net. Delirium in the stands, the kick-off flag to save their strength and in the 71st minute, a spectacular tackle by Suttner, which gave the impression that Muniain jumped in time, earned him a straight red card.

In full monopoly of the leather San Mamés had time to see the official home debut of Zubiaurre and San José and, above all, to enjoy short combinations, changes of direction, permutations of positions between players and a lot of calm to lead the newly released leather to hot positions. Susaeta in the 65th and 69th minutes had already had the goal he deserved in his boots, in the 73rd Muniain headed wide, Ocio tried a free kick deflected by Safar in the 76th, David López came up against the crossbar in the 89th minute and Muniain came up against the goalkeeper in the last minute. And with one eye on the pitch thinking about continuing to watch top-class football and the other in the stands waiting for the referee to blow the final whistle and the stands to clear, the last seconds of a match that left positive feelings. Sensations that, however, as when we win with less brilliance, should not confuse us and make us think that all the way is already done.

The calendar has not ceased to be terrible, all the opponents have been and will continue to be competitive and the biggest mistake would be to enjoy tonight and become complacent. Today we must also learn lessons that will allow us to improve and it is easier to do so with the satisfaction of a job well done, with the feeling that no matter who comes out, the group responds. For the time being, without further ado, La Liga returns to San Mamés on Sunday.