CD Nacional de Madeira - Athletic Club
Matchday 4

CD Nacional de Madeira - Athletic Club

CD Nacional de Madeira
CD Nacional de Madeira
Athletic Club
Athletic Club
  • 62' Edgar (p.)
  • Etxeberria (p.) 84'

LocationEstádio da Madeira , Funchal

CD Nacional 1 – Athletic Club 1: A point away

Athletic Club has drawn (1-1) against Nacional CD. Edgar and Etxeberria have scored the goals,…

Athletic Club

Athletic Club has drawn (1-1) against Nacional CD. Edgar and Etxeberria have scored the goals, both from penalty in the second half. Thanks this draw and the defeat (2-0) of Austria in Bremen, Athletic Club consolidates its second place in the UEFA Europa League ‘L’ Group and qualifies for the Round of 16 should they obtain one point in their next meet in Vienna.

December is still a long way off and today, to win the point that before starting didn’t feel like a bad result, the rojiblancos went through all types of game and spirits in a match which they could have won and could have eventually even lost. A contest in which all the protagonists, each one in their lot and each one in their own way, have somewhat become crazed, especially in the second period, a circumstance that has turned it into a windstorm of emotions. In the end the point is tasteful, but not so much Llorente’s right thigh injury, still to be determined.

As if it were the repetition of the match in San Mamés, both teams represented the same roles. Athletic came in with the intention of leading and Nacional with having greater ball control as possible, not hurry and surprise on the counterattack, hoping that the wind and the altitude would lend a hand. And similarly to what occurred in the Cathedral, yesterday’s men in black had trouble setting the pace to the game.
Despite it all they got closer, not better, and first. On the fourth minute and the fourth attempt, the semi-volley with the right by Gabilondo was caught by Bracali without any problems. However, in the minute 13, it was the local’s turn with a header by Mateus which Iraizoz saved. Among the speculation only the rivalry between the untiring local tamborileros and the hundreds of Athletic fans reminded us what was really at play and this kept the nearly 4,500 spectators in tension.

Five minutes later Mateus fouled Ustaritz, but the game continued and ‘a back pass’ created anxiety in our team. Athletic continued immersed in control without depth and given that the counterattack is Nacional’s favourite weapon, in an isolated approach Ruben gave his first warning, however his deliberate shot with the left barely missed wide.

At least Athletic responded with something tangible. On the one hand in the minute 33 Castillo didn’t think twice and from outside the area made Bracali fly to save to corner. Two minutes later, the cited attempt was almost an anecdote compared with that by Llorente. Gurpegi shot a deep ball to Llorente taking advantage of the bad exit by the Madeira defence, but the forward, once he overtook Bracali, shot to the post. A pity and more so when just a few minutes later, concretely in the 39th, he had to be replaced by De Marcos as he was suffering from muscular discomfort. In the heat of reorganizing the lines and ideas, Ruben, as it could be no other, at least in the first half, had the last opportunity, but again it was saved by Iraizoz. To make matters worse, Ustaritz gave a scare with the dislocation of one of his fingers, though he was able to return to play.

In second half, Machado introduced two changes. One to give more bite to the team, introducing Leandro for Mateus and advancing Pecnik, and another, with Cléber playing for Tomasevic, already without Llorente as a nuisance and with the intention of moving the ball lower. Of all this, what Nacional has appreciated most has been Pecnik’s advancement, the protagonist in almost all the dangerous plays.

Our team, however, had to recycle in order to play without Llorente. The recipe has been more low balls, more distancing and somewhat more tranquillity to retain the ball. That’s how in the minute 52, a good collective play culminated by Etxeberria with a pass to David Lopez was finished off by the latter, but the goalkeepers didn’t want to go unnoticed. With Athletic comfortable on the field Diaz de Cerio made his comeback and almost without time to break a sweat, he found himself with a badly drawn line which allowed Pecnik to face Iraizoz and his exit shocked the referee, but not one of his area assistants and the result has been a penalty against, converted by Edgar.

However, the match needed some salt and pepper and if in the first half he could have done so with a direct red to Nuno Pinto and at the end of the match with the squabble between Amorebieta and Edgar resolved by article 33 by the defender, in the meantime he decided that the penalty was not valid, we suppose because a local player penetrated the area before it was shot. Be that as it may, for a moment there the referee indicated indirect in our favour to shortly after rectify, perhaps assisted again and this time for good. On the second try Iraizoz tipped the ball, but not enough to keep Edgar from scoring. And from that point on everything went crazy: the referee was not at all accurate in many of his later decisions, Athletic couldn’t find their way to the goal and when they did they almost lost everything, while the locals had had the whole match to approach and were going to leave everything for a final miracle, in four minutes and with ten men on the field.

Despite adapting well to Llorente’s loss, Athletic was not harmful. Etxeberria was stuck to his wing of so many afternoons, where the panorama was somewhat clarified when a hard foul on the captain brought about the second yellow and consequent red for Nuno Pinto.

There were less than a dozen minutes left, but it was just five minutes from regulation time when Halliche brought down Diaz de Cerio and the consequent penalty was converted by Joseba Etxeberria, two goals against the Portuguese and already 104 with our team. Athletic and its fans went mad again and in the later play De Marcos headed point-blank, but Bracali made a marvellous save, just as he did when Diaz de Cerio shot a grounder in the 87.

The dynamics were aiming at a 1-2, but as the match was somewhat nutty, injury time brought about exactly the opposite: a very clear attempt by Pecnik parried by Iraizoz, a header by Edgar deflected by the goalkeeper and another header by Edgar, this time off target. Finally, the world upside down has been somewhat short-lived and at just a point away from progressing in Europa, we have to think about another difficult match, and more so after evaluating the infirmary, on Sunday in Santander, though attractive and very important to reaffirm the positive tendency in the Liga.