Athletic Club lost 1-2 before Atlético Madrid. Llorente has scored the goal for our team…
Athletic Club lost 1-2 before Atlético Madrid. Llorente has scored the goal for our team and Forlán and Tiago those of the visiting team. The Liga debut in San Mamés couldn’t be celebrated with a victory and, therefore, the current season hasn’t begun the same way as the almost unconquerable field that it was throughout almost all the second half of the past season. It is merely a fact that we hope soon rolls over, although what hurts most is that the incessant waste of energy, caste, faith, desire and effort haven’t had greater compensation before one of the better teams, with two recent European titles in their display cabinets, even though in football those labels have even weekly expiration dates.
Be that as it may, it had been months since Athletic hadn’t played in La Catedral and the atmosphere was that of great nights, with a tribute to the Copa Junior Champions included, although the final result left an undeniable bitter aftertaste. The lions displayed an energetic start, with a shot by Llorente up top, however Atlético also soon displayed its credentials: fast and vertical game with two lethal forwards working well together, two versatile and interchangeable wings and a couple of midfielders with a very similar profile as that presented by the host squad. What’s been noted and a more consistent defence than other seasons. At least to date.
If the rival’s own virtues weren’t difficult enough, it’s usually demolishing that they score in their first approach and that’s what happened in the minute eleven, when a shot from the left by Kun Agüero was not finished off properly by Simao, but his failed shot fell to Forlán who was coming from behind and his left-footed shot brought about the nil to one; on a par with the repetition of the meet as with the goal whenever he plays against Athletic Club.
An Athletic Club, that besides caste to export and youth to envy, that have confidence in its own strength and with no time to lick the wounds, they went on to impose a high game pace that, at times, appeared to make its rivals defenceless. In the 13th, Toquero had his first opportunity, and in the 18th he was unable to finish off a pass from Susaeta. The minutes seemed a trace, recovery by Athletic and fast balls near the rival’s goal area, but Hercules’ defence had the virtue to stop many lateral centres.
The spectators were conscious that the team was in the skirmish and its implication went, on this occasion, at the hands of sensations, without paying more attention than strictly necessary to what the scoreboard indicated. All this in spite of the refereeing performance, which at first distributed balance for both teams, has had the capacity, already well-known ever since there were no trains, to drive almost all participants crazy with the added and sterile wearing down that it supposes. The truth is that luck and most of their performances are not synonymous when Athletic Club is in the way.
With that scene of a team with breed and temper and another team calm and waiting to finish off the match, Athletic did try to, but its constant thrust didn’t have a prize, and when the consolation came, everything was almost decided. Long before, in the 21st of first half, Llorente took the ball well with a header between the midfielders, but his run didn’t end up with a shot on goal and the defences closed him in. Susaeta shot wide and Atlético had to wait until the minute 29 to once again make danger, even though it didn’t need to create it. It was Simao who made Iraizoz do all the work, and later Forlán shot off target.
If things weren’t difficult enough, Toquero appears to have subscribed to end the first halves with an injury and as occurred in Alicante, this time he had to withdraw in the minute 37 with a muscular injury in his right Ischiotibial. Muniain replaced him, even though their football characteristics are obviously different.
Before the break and in the heat of squandering talent by both teams, Godin and Amorebieta were added to the list of those booked with cards and Gabilondo had the clearest option, but the right leg is not his favourite and the ball barely missed wide.
Upon re-start of play, Kun gave his first warning, but his line-drive shot barely missed wide. Athletic, doing its thing, offensively, fighting to the death to recover each ball as quickly as possible and with more open spaces in the back against a virtuous rival when it came time to taking the rear. Let’s just say, our team was in a pure state of disadvantage in San Mamés.
In that scenario Kun Agüero was heading toward the goal in the minute 52 and Gurpegi had no choice but to bring him down just centimetres from the front line of the area. There are doubts as to where exactly the infraction took place and the latter discussion as to whether it was a foul, what was indicated, or a penalty. What didn’t seem so open for debate is the colour of the card, since it felt more as a red than what he was actually booked with. Caparrós, in case the referee thought things over, seated Gurpegi and brought in Iturraspe.
The one that also didn’t continue on the field has been Kun Agüero, who was injured and left his post to Diego Costa. On the hour of play, De Marcos replaced Gabilondo. Then Muniain changed to the left wing and De Marcos was positioned alongside Llorente. There was no danger at both ends and the pace was high, but the impreciseness were more frequent than not, some were in a hurry and Atlético was not. After another card, in this case for Raul Garcia, it helped for Llorente to finish off the free-kick just over the crossbar. As the minutes went by the risks for the locals were greater, although before fitting the nil to two, minutes 73 and 74, De Gea deflected two shots by De Marcos and Llorente.
In an already open and highly tense match, Raul Garcia was able to score from a volley and shortly after Forlán had a try, but Iraizoz responded quite well, as in the minute 80, when in a by-the-book counterattack with numerical superiority by Atlético, supported by the collapse due to a couple of mistakes, he deflected a shot by Simao, but was unable to prevent the header into the net by the recently incorporated Tiago. Nil -Two!
In spite of everything, Athletic has something good, that it is Athletic and that its supporters are, it’s quite obvious, of the same making, which is why going rack and ruin was not in the script. The thrust didn’t bring about the goal, but in the end, in the minute 88, a break by De Marcos down the left was shot on goal by Llorente. Two out of two, though different translation in points. From then and till the end, with extra time, to say the least, sui generis when it came to quantifying the minutes given the obvious interruptions seen, the rojiblancos had another two attempts, both with Amorebieta in the leading role, but his header, first, and his latter flash shot with his left, were useless.
Atlético Madrid took the points with their great work in all its lines, with verticality and efficiency up top and, also, that’s our fate, with much ready-made literature. Athletic has its style, like every team, and also plays with a hung poster. Tonight’s visitors have, presumably, another or very different one, but sometimes it’s advisable to watch the match’s DVD, even though we know the outcome of each play and we could verify how none of the fullbacks or midfielders, filled with fame and continental recognition, have not tried to clear balls that came to them, or send the ball to teammates in clearly deserted areas, to restrain the rival with fouls or, among other things, to distract the hands of the clock when the result was in their favour, never mind sending long balls to their forwards when it was necessary. Besides, they have stilettos up top as if they were a hot knife on butter and have had less thrust and a whole lot more effectiveness. Let’s see if at least in Gijon the tendency is reversed and we can return to gaining points. What is true is that the Liga is back and besides Sporting at their field, Mallorca and FC Barcelona will in a few days examine the evolution of our team in San Mamés.