Athletic Club - Rayo Vallecano

Athletic Club - Rayo Vallecano

Athletic Club
Athletic Club
Rayo Vallecano
Rayo Vallecano
  • 42' Llorente
  • 74' J.Martínez
  • Collantes 71'
  • Albacar 78'

LocationSan Mamés , Bilbo

Athletic Club 2 – Rayo 2: Once again off target

Athletic Club and Rayo Vallecano have drawn at two goals in San Mamés. Llorente and…

Athletic Club

Athletic Club and Rayo Vallecano have drawn at two goals in San Mamés. Llorente and Javi Martinez have been the goal scorers. Good bye to the Copa! Athletic Club has not been able to prolong their winning streak of the past week and, in spite of being the fourth consecutive match undefeated, the draw did not have any real value in the K.O. competition. Our team is already eliminated, perhaps without deserving it, but in a competition in which a goal is law and life insurance, not guessing correctly in supreme luck no matter how many opportunities are created it’s a sin that’s paid with the blood of elimination.

To ponder on whether the round was lost at the Teresa Rivero or in San Mamés, or in both, does not lead us anywhere. That’s why the reaction of the public when the match ended perfectly reflected what had happened: resignation and some timid applauses for our players, whistling for the work of the referee in a match without complications (we’ll let the wise experts and editorialists rest today as they have enough work) and a well-deserved applause to an ordered and clean Rayo Vallecano that has known how to manage its advantage and its general and percentile success in view of the rival goal. A team that, by the way, has already had two rounds against Athletic Club and in both has left us in the roadside ditch.

Now we have to put all our thoughts and strength in the Liga and Europa League, basically because there is no more and, also, because the balance in both until now has been positive. Beyond the unfavourable result, all the Copa ingredients were available in San Mamés: the time, the nourished presence of the public, the emotion, the tension and in the end a game without schemes with two teams committed in the search for the goal, some as prey of anxiety, the hosts and others, the visitors, with the composure of being able to triangulate with the round in their pocket.

As had already occurred at the Teresa Rivero the early attempts have been for the rojiblancos. At least in this case Rayo didn’t score in their first approach. In the rival area in ten Llorente minutes, in the end it’s been the game, could have done a hat-trick, but one’s reach often exceeds one’s grasp, or at least this time it didn’t happen. In the minute 2, he ended wide with a header, in the 5 over the crossbar with his foot and in the 11 his shot with the right from outside the area went wide brushing the post. It looked like another day for the no; a circumstance to which, involuntarily of course, De Marcos also signed up with a weak header in the minute 32.

In front Rayo continued with its script without blinking an eye: good pressure in the area that often forced slow transitions between the centres and not excessively fit deep shots, serious in the back and with verticality when its midfielder won superiority before a team that was devoted since coming out of the changing room tunnel. That’s where we were when they created true danger with a one-on-one between Collantes and Armando which he was able to easily resolve in the minute 35 or with an excellent stretch by our goalie in the 36 from a shot by Rubén Reyes.

The pace that Athletic imposed was high, with the dose of added imprecision that the team coming from behind drags, but as a result of their perseverance, and perhaps when it was least expected, came the 1-0 as Susaeta penetrated down the right and centred to the heart of the area and Llorente headed on goal. After being turned aside with the foot by a defence it became the angular stone of the comeback; one of those so-called psychological goals.

After the break just one change, Castillo came in for Koikili who had been booked and back to the same dynamics, initial thrust by Athletic and later decomposition as the scoreboard dictated sentence. Athletic was not giving in, a goal separated them from extra time, when Mel made a change that from the outside appeared very important, if not decisive, and that seemed to lose itself in the havoc: Movilla in for Rubén Reyes, which has given Rayo a lot more ball possession and more approaches, facilitated by the fact that Athletic Club ran more and more risks.

For example, Piti shot on goal from a volley in the 52 and Armando saved the goal or in the 61 when Angel connected a header just over the crossbar. The succession of comings and goings had no end and we entered the decisive phase of the match. It was clear that the first one to score was going to take the match. Athletic had its chance in Susaeta’s boots, after a brilliant personal play and shot just a tad over-crossed which Etxeberria has not been able to shoot on goal.

Diaz de Cerio replaced Toquero and Quero came in for Jofre. Emotions were on the upsurge, at the hands of anxiety, because the ball wouldn’t go in, more so when Llorente stood up to Dani, however his shot with the left has been parried by the goalkeeper. The pressure was on, and soon, when a corner was taken, the later rebound went directly to Collantes. Ustaritz was able to stick his leg in on the one-on-one; he sent the ball sky-high with such bad luck that when it came down Collantes accurately hooked the goal. Incredible, but true and the Copa was further and further.

On the other hand, the team has demonstrated that their fighting spirit and their heart are their main power supply and they continued with their vocation to reach the top. Just two minutes later Javi Martinez headed in a free-kick from Orbaiz to score the 2-1. For a moment there the 4-1 of the previous comeback from a 2-0 with a Second Division team, in that case Extremadura, was visualized when Llorente headed on goal, but Dani made the save. It was very difficult and it became impossible when Albácar scored the definitive 2-2, after converting a free-kick just over the barrier.

Ten minutes still to go and Llorente (and the rest) were already quite tired, especially mentally. At that moment Rayo has perfectly read what they had to do to maintain their substantial advantage and, like in the first leg, they even created occasions to wrap-up the match. In the end 2-2 and goodbye to the Copa, although the entity of the next Liga rival, FC Barcelona, perhaps at this time and as we have perceived and suffered in our own flesh, the best team of the world, puts all our attention in that meet, with kickoff time yet to be determined, on 21 November in San Mamés.