Athletic Club defeated Hercules CF (0-1) in its Liga opening with marked presence of thousands…
Athletic Club defeated Hercules CF (0-1) in its Liga opening with marked presence of thousands of rojiblanco fans. Llorente scored a header right into the net from a free kick by Gabilondo at the start of the second half. In the first half the encounter was balanced, but in the second, as a result of the goal, our team tactfully managed the advantage and has started the competition on the right track. Also to emphasize is the Liga debut of Jon Aurtenetxe and on the negative aspect is Toquero’s sprained ankle and Gabilondo’s muscular overload.
The first minutes were adjusted to the script and control has been mainly for Athletic Club, meanwhile the rival seemed to exceptionally confront their return to first division which they abandoned precisely in a match against our colours. At that time the wingers were most incisive: Susaeta, after giving a tremendous scare after falling badly as a result of a foul, hastily shot wide a free kick from Gabilondo, who re-tried his luck with a shot the Calatayud blocked.
Hercules was only adding its first cards of the afternoon, but they’ve know how to manage their nerves and turned them into confidence, which led them to control the situation under the baton of Tote and Tiago Gomes, its reference players at least in the inaugural encounter. The rojiblancos lost the initiative and were stuck with long balls without much clarity. It’s not that the hosts created excessive danger, but they were rather close to Iraizoz with passes between lines by Tote behind the defence as their main offensive argument.
In the umpteenth one, minute 20, Portillo had the clearest occasion, but Iraizoz made the save which ended in corner. After a few even hotter minutes, our team recovered and the two last occasions of the first half were for the visitors, with identical players. Susaeta, with free kick that some at the field or even before their TV screens shouted goal, and Gabilondo with a volley way over the crossbar. Despite this, the most noteworthy before entering an even more heated changing room has been the Toquero’s injury after his crash Abraham Paz. There were two minutes left for the interval and David Lopez occupied his place taking up the right and Susaeta as a second forward.
It was sultry and there was little game as a summary to the first half, with two groups of supporters that maintained the temperature high in the field. However, the mystery of what would happen in the second half soon became known. A foul on Susaeta was tactfully sent into the area by Gabilondo and Llorente has done the rest with a slight and precise header. It was the left winger’s ‘last service’, as he had to withdraw in the minute 54 with discomfort in his left leg’s femoral biceps. Second substitution and new composition on the slate: Susaeta once again to the right, David Lopez to the left and Muniain behind Llorente.
Esteban Vigo also made his changes by introducing Kiko for Abel Aguilar. The newly entered player stuck to the right wing with the consequent displacement of Tote to the centre field, where he continued doing damage, with his most significant contribution being a deep pass to Portillo in the 65, but Iraizoz’ exit forced that the only option, a ball over his body, would end up far off target.
Athletic lived its better moments, they felt comfortable on the field and wasn’t suffering any hardships, so much so that any all the risks were in Calatayud’s goal, first due to a mistake on his part that Llorente wanted to take advantage of as it approached him in the minute 66 and later, in the minute 71, due to a header by Muniain after a good play initiated by he himself that ended up hitting the goalie’s body. Three minutes it was Martinez who made Calatayud show off his work, although the last local attempt had not yet arrived.
Hercules was a stronger team with the presence of Thomert in the place of Sendoa, but in vain, despite the fact that Tiago Gomes had a couple of options. In the first, minute 79, his soft shot on goal was stopped by Iraizoz, who had to make an extra effort in the 82 after a shot by the Portuguese shortly before Cristian occupied his position.
After the scare, the last part of the match has been calm, with Iturraspe already on the field replacing Susaeta, and more so after Fritzel was booked with a second yellow in the minute 90. In the end the player’s effort, and also that of the many fans that attended the match at the Rico Perez, have given its fruits and the three points will give our young and rocky team yet greater confidence to confront the visit by Atlético Madrid, who have recently been proclaimed European Super Cup Champions.