Athletic Club has lost 3-1 against Werder Bremen, with goals scored by Hunt, Naldo and…
Athletic Club has lost 3-1 against Werder Bremen, with goals scored by Hunt, Naldo and Frings, from a penalty. Athletic’s goal has been the work of Llorente. It’s been a two-half match, in the first half Werder has shown its superiority and our team some of its deficiencies. In the second, strengths were equalled, but it’s not been enough to score. At least Austria Wien and Nacional have drawn at one goal, reason why our options to qualify remain intact.
The rojiblanco’s side has had little game in the first half. Unfortunately, it’s been during that period that great part of the final outcome has been elucidated. Although the beginning has been relatively calm, Athletic was not able to connect minimally long ball possessions that would make the opponent worry. It is more, the ruling impression was that Werder Bremen did not need to work much to create danger with balls on the inside and diagonals behind the defence.
The first quarter hour went by without many occasions; in the minute 17, Ozil has tested Iraizoz with a level and distant shot, but in the 18 the result has been worse.
Castillo has not been able to clear the ball in the edge of the area, and Hunt hunted an unreachable volley for our goalie. There was an enormous task ahead, more so considering the capacity demonstrated by the hosts to play with space.
Athletic Club tried to react, a corner kick by yesterday’s very active Yeste has been parried by the rival goalie with his fingertips, but it has lacked depth, that is, without creating much danger. Both centre backs resolved the long, frontal balls with relative ease in most cases, and although the game did balance out, that peace was artificial.
Werder Bremen didn’t need much else by then and, as the game opened up, was playing the classic match to sentence on the offensive. Marin had his option in the minute 36, blocked by Iraizoz and shortly after the best opportunity of the first half arrived: Llorente reached the area but Toquero was not able to finish it off with everything in his favour. Soon after, Hunt shot wide with his left, Iraola saw the first yellow of the match in the 40 and one minute later a short clearing ended up with the ball in the area behind the defence, Amorebieta invalidated any offside option and Pizarro, very calmly, passed to Naldo for the centre back, who had not yet returned to his natural position, to score the two nil.
The deficiencies of the first half have not ended there, since in the following play Toquero has been object of a penalty for shoving that seemed clear just a few meters from the referee, however he didn’t call it; a play for the wise analysts, who have also had additional work in the second half. To add to the suffering, almost in the last play, Ozil engaged in a one-on-one with Iraizoz, but the goalkeeper resolved well.
At re-start of play, Muniain came in for Toquero and David Lopez for Gabilondo. Despite the fact that the first option has been for Pizarro, Athletic faced this period in a different mood and way of playing, more cheerful, taking greater advantage of the field and the ball, something that has made Werder Bremen doubt at times. For example, in the minute 54, when Iraola’s shot has been repelled by a defence, the bounce ended up at Javi Martinez’ feet, but his shot has been warded off by the goalie. In the counterattack, it couldn’t be any other way, a new attempt by Ozil, saved again by Iraizoz.
On the hour of play, Niemeyer substituted Bargfrede, a circumstance that could have marked the match. Shortly after coming in he’s seen the yellow card. A miracle!, they’ve come to think and even say on the bench and stands, at least on the rojiblanca side, also with ten yesterday, given the erratic decisive factor of the referee when it came to handing out cards.
What seemed a simple anecdote got ‘complicated’ soon after, when Niemeyer committed a strong foul on Muniain. It was not first that the young player from Irun had suffered. The referee called the foul and appeared as if he was going to bring out a card, then not, and when Pizarro requested the presence of our team’s doctor and masseuse next to the player, Tudor’s pocket swelled and the second yellow became red for a player who didn’t even break a sweat.
With one more player on the field, game superiority also arrived, but facing a more rational and intensive use of both flanks. As an example an approach by Gurpegi down the right that has not found a striker, and a similar one by Etxeberria (he’d come in for Javi Martinez) right into the heart of the small area. As a result of the mentioned substitution, Gurpegi took more to the centre, as did David Lopez to leave Muniain stuck in the left wing since he had a day where he could do some damage… and that they could do to him.
The minutes were consumed with sterile approaches or oops! in the goal area shared by a crane and rojiblanco followers, until in the minute 90 a pass by the captain was finished off on the half-turn by Llorente with the left to establish 2-1; a goal of hope. There was very little time left, for the end and for that hope to vanish, since shortly after Amorebieta conceded a penalty and Frings scored the definitive 3-1; defeat, the third consecutive one and the first in this Groups Phase, this time before a very powerful rival and after a weak first half.
At least the other group match ended with what in theory seemed the better result, a draw (1-1), which keeps our team’s options alive. However, there’s time to talk about that because now Valladolid awaits us in Pucela on Sunday, a very demanding challenge.