Valencia CF VS Athletic Club 10/2/2010 | Athletic Club’s Official Website
Matchday 06

Valencia CF2 : 1Athletic Club

10:00 PM
Date and time
10/2/2010 - 10:00 PM

A weak first half condemns the team

Athletic Club lost in Mestalla against Valencia by 2-1. Aduriz and Vicente scored the local’s…

Oct 3, 2010

Athletic Club lost in Mestalla against Valencia by 2-1. Aduriz and Vicente scored the local’s goals, while Gabilondo, from a direct kick, scored our team goal. If we look for the definition of the match, played against the current leader in First Division “a two-faced affair” would be a very good one. In the first half the team were not, by a long shot, at the same level of their previous matches and based on this affirmation comes the eternal doubt: Merit of the hosts? Or lack of merit on behalf of the visitors? But anyway, that’s an issue for the coaches, Valencia were on top, much better during some stages, right from the start. In the second half, the opposite, Athletic had regained their form, though the final score did nothing but ratify what had been squandered during the first half.
Things did not get off to a good start at all. The team positioned too far behind, without being able to react, an early booking for Llorente and what everyone feared came true in the 11th minute. The umpteenth penetration down one of the two flanks by Valencia ended in a run by Soldado down the right who passed the ball to the very heart of the goal area where Aduriz was able to head the ball into the back of the net.

The desire to react was just a mere intention. Orbaiz went on to play closer to the right wing and Gurpegi to the centre and then Llorente took a shot at goal from a pass by Igor Martínez, but this was simply a mirage, because the direction of the match and ball was coming towards our area. And the worst was the trail of goal-scoring opportunities for the “che” squad, but the impression was that these opportunities were coming without too much of an effort along with the observation that Athletic were unable to control the match. For example when Mata couldn’t make the most of Pablo’s shot in the 19th minute, and Topal’s shot at goal with a great left from outside the goal area which just missed, Pablo Hernández finished off up close and Iraizoz saved the day with his foot in the 24th and Aduriz, in a doubtful position, could not take advantage of a clamorous opportunity in the 37th minute.
At least in the last minutes of the first half the team woke up, they were even able to move the ball easily taking it to more jeopardising rival areas, without being spot on, of course, in the final shot. Nevertheless, the superiority of Valencia was undeniable and to back this up Aduriz who had another opportunity during the last sigh.
From the changing rooms Susaeta was sent in to replace Pablo Orbaiz. For a couple of minutes it seemed as if we were going through the same panorama as in the first half, but in this second half Athletic demonstrated that it had, at least, the ability to react and weapons to dominate the match. In the 50th minute Llorente finished off with a header that went straight to César’s hands and two minutes later Gurpegi’s shot, with the right, from the rim of the area went astray.

This time Valencia had to wait their turn to create danger and did so with Soldado with a volley that for him was excessively crossed. Those who had to play in black, as the majority in the football world know that our first kit is red and white and that, worn with white shorts, is compatible with that of the rival, were witness to a second substitution in their line up: Toquero for Igor Martínez, but the scheme did not change much.

It’s undeniable that the image given was now different, but there was something missing, call it luck or call it being spot on in the last couple of metres. And to make it worse, Javi Martínez who in an attempt at goal, collided with César and minutes later had to leave the pitch and substituted by Muniain, whose entrance meant that Gabilondo was sent to cover the centre half-back spot, though the newcomer to the field also moved about in that area.

Emery tried to revitalize his team with Vicente who stepped in for Mata, whereas Pablo Hernández was the only player that looked dangerous, however on two occasions Iraizoz, well placed, caught both his shots.

Athletic were doing, among other things, something that they were suffering from during the first half, applying the pressure when rivals put the ball into play that is, which forced Valencia to forget about the wings and play more directly, a better scenario in order to get the ball back. In spite of everything, today was not the day as shown in the 70th minute, when Susaeta took a shot at goal with a lot of determination, but the shot was repelled … by Llorente. Nonetheless Valencia were nothing but comfortable nor their fans, despite the team being the championship leaders.
The match was being hampered as the seconds ticked by. Aurtenetxe and Soldado both got a yellow card booking so Emery, who was aware of the forward’s emotional state, chose to withdraw him from the field so that Domínguez, who is not exactly the apple of the “che” fans’ eyes, could step in. Among cries of “get into the right position” and “stay calm” Athletic kept on trying by, whilst simultaneously, accumulating an enormous number of fullbacks in the area but no strikers, not even when César dropped the ball, who after a corner kick had to extract a ball with his fist from under the posts and showing their lack of aim as demonstrated when a shot at goal by Toquero went astray in a move that seemed more apt for Susaeta

Side B contained the logical opening of gaps at the time of taking risks, something constant in the matches played up until now against rivals in the top part of the league ladder. Pablo was no longer there, after having been replaced by Frégoli, but Domínguez was, with the desire of redeeming himself and enabling Vicente to establish the 2-0 score easily at around the 90 minute mark.

Above and beyond all the difficulties, our team can do things either well or badly, but they never give up. In the three matches that have been lost, two with a score of 1-2 and the other by 1-3, in half the matches, the score had been 0-2 and the team managed to find the back of the net during injury time and, for a moment, in these three matches, Athletic were able to contemplate reaching a draw. In today’s match, a foul which was masterfully kicked by Gabilondo was a cry for justice, but the last minute attempts were all in vain and this heavy burden had to be born from the first half and through the entire match.

A mandatory break, you can’t always win before every one of these, and the hope that this break will be good for the recuperation of injured players, like Ustaritz and Javi Martínez.