Athletic Club 3 Mallorca 0Athletic Club beat Mallorca by 3-0. David Lopéz in the first…
Athletic Club 3 Mallorca 0
Athletic Club beat Mallorca by 3-0. David Lopéz in the first half and San José as a result of a penalty and Iñigo Pérez, in the second, scored the Red-White goals. Our team has three more points in the bag following the second match of this demanding week. This victory will also pump up their morale before playing host to the almighty FC Barcelona on Saturday at San Mamés. All this in duel number 2,500 of the League, which was not precisely a match that will go down in history, but in order to play a decent championship victories like the one against Mallorca are more than necessary.
After the strong but fizzy start to the match, more or less until San José was booked with a yellow card in the 4th minute, offensive play became rare and the pace slow, or, at least, the lack of pace was maintained, and this was the predominating trend. Athletic faced up to the clash with a novelty in their double pivot department, Iturraspe, and the two players Muniain and David Lopéz down the flanks, instead of those who got the match in Gijon underway. In spite of everything, eight players from Lezama with an average age that is just above that of 23 took part, a reality that is already here and that invites us to be optimists.
While ours could not push the right button, Mallorca was happy controlling the majority of the second moves and with criterion when it came to the handling of the ball… right up to the outskirts of their rival’s front goal area, from where it was more difficult for them to progress. Their offensive play being one the weakest in recent memory during their visits to San Mamés, a pair of deflected headers in the first half, Nunes and Nsue, and an innocent shot at goal with a header by Webo in the second half.
It’s not like Athletic had much to boast about either in the first half, but they gave more sensation of danger. Javi Martínez took a shot at goal in minute 12 taken with the left that missed, in the 17th minute Iraola did the same but with the right that Aouate did not block, although the clearest goalscoring opportunity came in the 38th minute when a give and take situation between Llorente and Igor Martínez ended in a one to one by the latter against the goalkeeper Aouate who ruined everything.
On the contrary, the goal that would change, it can be said almost definitely, the course of the match, came in the most unexpected way. It was minute 43 of the game when David Lopéz reduced the distance and centred the ball from the right wing. His line shot with the left leg crossed the area without finding a striker or defender, but slipped inside Anouate’s goalmouth from the opposite post.
A goal that was to clear up the panorama. And make the match diaphanous, at the restart, without any substitutions, our players stepped onto the pitch determined to settle the score and Mallorca’s fictitious dominion disappeared from the face of the Earth and the pitch. Llorente finished off with a header in the 46th, a corner kick. Five minutes later a half-volley shot by Javi Martínez just missed and in the 55th minute a dangerous left kick was taken by David Lopéz that smashed into the defence.
The cadence could not be broken and another five minutes later the match had slipped away from the rivals. The prolongation of a Llorente header struck a rival hand, Nunes, who was inside the area. The penalty to follow was converted into goal by San José at ease. Now there were already a lot less people who still dreamed of vermillion comeback.
Laudrup made a substitution that he took time to carry out: Webo stepped in for Cendrós, while Caparrós chose to send Susaeta in to replace Igor Martínez in the 72nd minute, De Marcos took over from David Lopéz in the 76th and Iñigo Pérez stepped in for Muniain in the 79th minute. The match went on without much ado, but there are still some things left to talk about. For example an Iñigo Pérez pass to Llorente who, alone against Aouate, had a go with a chip shot but the goalkeeper could see his intention. It could have been Athletic’s third for the match and their fourth in four matches. From the stands some people sang about De Marcos and wind music could also be heard.
It’s obvious that every fan has their own opinion, close to 40,000 spectators per match at San Mamés, but to whistle at the home ground players, a phenomenon also experienced first hand by the members of the rear, doesn’t seem to be the best recipe to increase the players’ confidence.
Iñigo Pérez passed the ball in the above-mentioned move and, already in injury time, Iñigo was able to make his goalscoring debut in an official match while wearing the Athletic jersey. De Marcos came up with a deadly pass to Llorente, whose shot at goal bounced off a defender and the clearance was intercepted by Iñigo Pérez and sent to the back of the net.
A fair victory, perhaps a little bit excessive quantitatively speaking, but one is always grateful to achieve points with a certain doses of calm in what is such a demanding League. And to bring the week to a close, FC Barcelona, difficult but not impossible, and even less so if the appointment is at San Mamés.
The Athletic Club line up: Iraizoz; Iraola, San José, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe; David López, Iturraspe, Javi Martínez, Munian; Igor Martínez and Llorente. On the bench: Raúl; De Marcos, Susaeta, Orbaiz, Iñigo Pérez, Gurpegi and Aitor Ocio.
RCD Mallorca: Aouate; P. Cendrós, Nunes, Ramis, Kevin; Martí, De Guzmán, Pereira, Nsue, Castro; and Cavenaghi. On the bench: Lux, Rubén, Webo, V. Casadesús, M. Crespí, Pina, Sergi E.
Referee: Teixeira Vitienes.