Sevilla 4 Athletic Club 3 Athletic Club lost 4-3 at the Sanchez Pizjuán. Goals by…
Sevilla 4 Athletic Club 3
Athletic Club lost 4-3 at the Sanchez Pizjuán. Goals by Llorente (2) and Gabilondo, could not counteract the two scored by Kanouté, both from penalties, and the other two scored by Luis Fabiano, in a match that had a bit of everything, when it came to judging our own game and the merits of other people, as well as when it came to valuing, to say the least, the controversial refereeing decisions. This gives us a lot to talk about, and just like what happened before against substantial rivals in theory and practice, one could say that our team looked as though they were packing a punch but weren’t able to, and at times weren’t allowed to either.
Without further ado, we can start off by saying that Ibai Gómez’ companions had a message for him printed on the jerseys they wore prior to the clash, besides the good predisposition and disposition of the Red-Whites, the match report states that in the 5th minute Navarro was given the first yellow card, something anecdotal at that moment and with lots of meaning during the course of the game. The foul kick involved Javi Martinéz being grabbed in the rival area, but they weren’t able to hold him back in the 7th minute, but his header was caught by Palop.
The seriousness and desire to go after the match were the fundamental characteristics of our team’s game, with good combinations ground level and Sevilla being somewhat disoriented. Toquero and Llorente created several dangerous situations by means of deep passes, however, it was down the wings where there were more reasons for the local fans to get nervous, an unmistakable sign that the work done at the beginning had been optimal.
Sevilla took a while to get going, but there’s nothing new in saying that they have more than enough gunpowder to go round. Luis Fabiano finished off a pass from Kanouté with a header that missed and later, in his first attempt at a chip shot, Iraizoz was able to resolve the situation. The duel was an open one, nice to watch and Athletic were reiterating that they were willing to give what we could call the leap in quality at the time of facing these confrontations, especially away from home, against teams with a better record in recent times.
It was Sevilla who were kept back the most as Muniain and Susaeta upset the rival defence’s balance. In the 17th minute the first player took a shot at goal with the right and the ball, with bounce and all, ended up being corner, the corner kick being finished off clearly by Llorente with a header, but it was too high
So for the first twenty minutes our team was much better. Afterwards a little of everything just like a pharmacy, less aim, rival effectiveness with a dose of Murphy’s law at times and the uncontrollable factors that we don’t want to mention, but must. For example, with no half-measures, the referee’s decisions went on to become the central theme of the encounter and some may have thought that the referee with the weight and passing of the minutes was a serious candidate for the MVP (Most Valuable Player) of the match award, if basketball fans are kind enough to let us use this expression.
In the 19th minute Navarro stuck his arm out when jumping up for the ball with Susaeta, an action that until that moment and mostly afterwards was sanctioned and accompanied by a yellow card. However, in this case, supposing that the fact that it would have meant a second yellow card for the winger did not have any influence.
And just as one would expect against a significant rival, it was now the locals’ turn but at first, we didn’t know that this would be accompanied by luck. Kanouté gave a warning by means of a powerful right that was repelled by Iraizoz, just as he had repelled Luis Fabiano’s free kick as a result of a non-existent foul awarded to the latter. What’s more the match was heating up with bookings against Luis Fabiano and Gurpegi, the game slowed down and the first goal was scored in the silliest way, but it still counts.
In the 35th minute Capel kicked to the centre, but Kanouté couldn’t intercept the ball, so the ball dropped right to Luis Fabiano’s feet who in keeping with the tradition of almost all those teams who have a drought when it comes to scoring goals against Athletic, inaugurated the scoreboard, I mean, they scored the first goal (1-0).
Deserving or not, Athletic were blamed. Alexis and Llorente, were booked for the very same reason that Navarro had not been earlier, Sevilla were becoming even more dangerous, they found gaps and kicked long passes for the umpteenth time, then in the last minute of the first half, Ustaritz beat Luis Fabiano, who cried out to the referee, who then decreed a penalty. Kanouté is one of those players who rarely miss. Two to zero and to the locker rooms to reflect on our shortcomings, on what could have been and the searing disadvantage despite all the efforts made.
Nothing new in a football match. Without any substitutions being made by either team the trend of the match was confirmed. Red-White desire and rival effectiveness. Neither Llorente nor Muniain were spot on in the goalmouth and Capel almost scored their third goal in the 47th minute, but the ball hit the post in one of the few bouts of fortune for our team. Nevertheless, it was Sevilla who were calm, they controlled the encounter and it was difficult for our squad to prevail, especially when taking into account our urgent need to get into the match, seeing that there are others who are in charge of keeping you out of it.
Before the 60 minute mark Gabilondo stepped in for Toquero and Muniain was positioned behind Llorente, but not for long, as shortly afterwards he was replaced by Ion Vélez. Between substitution and substitution, a long pass from Romaric taken with the outer part of his left foot was enough for Luis Fabiano, this time, to control and chip it over Iraizoz’s head. The most widespread idea was that the match was over, 3-0.
A big mistake when dealing with Athletic, a team with defects, of course, but one which holds their heads up high when facing all kinds of adversities. Now, in the 63rd minute, at last, though a bit late, the referee showed Navarro his second yellow card and even took a look at his dorsal number as if he didn’t know who he was. Immediately afterwards Orbaiz stepped in for Gurpegi. Meanwhile, Sevilla sent Konko to the right wing and Dabo to the left. Athletic Club were concentrating on their own game which was to attack as there was no other alternative.
The newcomer to the field Ion Vélez took a shot at goal that sailed over the stringer, Susaeta gave Palop a work out with the right and later with a header, but in vain. The same thing happened to Llorente in the 70th and Koikili had a go from a distance without any luck. Manzano moved his chess pieces with the ease of mind that the scoreboard provided. Perotti in for Capel.
Nevertheless a twist to the plot was soon to be had. In the 74th minute Orbaiz kicked the ball to the right wing and from there Susaeta centred enabling Llorente to finish it off with a header. Negredo replaced Luis Fabiano. The acknowledgement of the revived goalscorer consisted of grinding teeth in the 76th minute. A penalty was committed against Llorente, the referee specifically ordered for the match to continue and almost at the same time Gabilondo’s shot was intercepted by Konko with his hands. Maximum punishment but Palop guessed where Llorente was going to kick right, but luckily the clearance was finished off by the striker therefore putting uncertainty and hope into the match (3-2).
Despite everything, and just as you can see in many commercial establishments, besides everyone’s skill or lack of skill, there were signs to remind us that there’s always someone there to spoil the day. Our team has enough on their plate with the errors made in their goal area, for them to then go on and try to explain this paranormal phenomenon. We can paraphrase the protagonists of other fields (‘the desire to train has gone’, ‘they don’t treat everyone the same’) along with requests for exposure or subsidized trips to the North Pole. Or must we wait for an editorial to be done on us saying that if we are waiting at the door, it’s because we don’t know how to open it, or because it has been slammed in our faces. It is science fiction, because once more they are going to say that one of our players, who knows which?, is an ideal candidate for Mars or any other galaxy.
To hell with the reaction, the desire to make amends for the errors made before and those to come, Negredo commits a foul against Iraizoz, during the throw in Ustaritz touches the ball unintentionally with his hand, the struggle followed and our defence cleared the ball from under the posts, but here comes the referee and calls penalty and after two maximum penalties that were presumably committed, our defender gets a yellow card for complaining! Kanouté scores, 4-2.
In spite of all the sorrow, rage and impotence, with only one minute left to go Gabilondo scored our third from a centre pass taken by Javi Martínez. Once again so close but yet so far.
And to put the icing on the cake, the Red-White expedition had to fly all the way to Gasteiz as they couldn’t land at Bilbao airport, despite having received previous authorization just like on other occasions and after having adjusted their flight schedules, anyway, they landed in Alava’s capital despite the fact that Bilbao airport was still open. A real shame, considering that the vast majority of places earnestly want their respective clubs to land at home and take measures to ensure this. There are days in which nothing goes right.