Villarreal 4 Athletic Club 1Athletic Club lost by 4-1 at the Madrigal. Llorente scored the…
Villarreal 4 Athletic Club 1
Athletic Club lost by 4-1 at the Madrigal. Llorente scored the Red-White goal, but afterwards Nilmar, Cazorla, Rossi and Montero turned the tables. The Red-Whites got off to a good start in the first and second half, but the last ten minutes of each period were devastating. The leap in quality is on hold and without further delay this week at San Mamés there are teams such as against Alcorcón and Almería to overcome. Besides the defeat, and to make things worse was Aurtenetxe’s sending off, Gurpegi’s fifth yellow card, and Susaeta’s injury.
On a pitch where something always happens, most of the goalscoring opportunities had a slightly negative hue, our team started off without complexes, with firmness and with the healthy intention of bearing the weight of the match, always with the doubt as to whether it’s better to close up ranks behind or move the defensive line forward when playing against a team like Villarreal.
Either way, by the 6th minute Athletic Club’s game had unusually reaped the rewards quickly. Aurtenetxe, the only novelty in the starting eleven line up compared to last Sunday’s, passed the ball to the heart of the area for Llorente to score his seventh goal in the League with a header and thus keeping Athletic’s goalscoring streak during all of this season’s matches alive. An excellent start to the match, beyond doubt.
Athletic did not take a step backwards and kept searching for the rival goalmouth, although in the final passes they wasted a lot of runs. And in front was our rival, who on the contrary, does not find it difficult to create danger even when they’re feeling uncomfortable. For instance when Rossi had a go hastily ten minutes into the game or Musacchio whose header to follow went astray. The Italian had it easier in the 15-minute mark, but couldn’t beat Iraizoz who had come forward.
During the other match, the one concerning the bookings, the one that we always know how they start but never how they end, Valero was the first to be cautioned, and Munian along with Musacchio were soon to follow. The latter was booked for tackling and injuring Susaeta. Our player had to leave the pitch just before the 30-minute mark and De Marcos took his spot.
The encounter was already hot, spurred on by the crowd who until the equalizing goal was scored dedicated their time and effort, another classic, to catcalling at both the referee, -who they like to almost always call “burro-“, and the rival team, even booing Susaeta for taking up time during which he was suffering after having received the blow.
Anyway, the match was no longer the same for Athletic and everything got worse during the last ten minutes of each half. The encounters seemed to be under control for our team, at least when referring to the absence of goalscoring opportunities by the rival team, but in the 39th minute, on behalf of a team that bases almost all of its potential in its inside game, a ball from the midfield line towards the farthest post allowed Nilmar to finish it off with a header, and as result he scored the equalizer. Shortly afterwards a shot at goal by Cani touched Gurpegi but Iraizoz was able to clear it well with his hand.
In these cases experience says that a plan is needed to stay alive during the interval. With this in mind Rossi took a shot at goal with a chip shot that sailed over the crossbar. However, when there were only a few seconds to go, Iraizoz in an attempt to put the ball back into play, decided, instead of a high deep kick, to get the ball into play at ground level, a good habit much used throughout the season, although today this move didn’t turn out right.
The goalkeeper calculated badly and set Cazorla up with an open goal, Cazorla who just happened to be there and who did not hesitate when it came to taking a shot at goal with a line shot from outside the area and thus breaking the stalemate. Just like what happened in Seville, but this time for different reasons, our team went to the halftime break with the pin-pong ball in their face. Prior to going to the locker room even Capdevila had a goalscoring opportunity, but the goalie did a better job this time.
In the second half Gabilondo stepped in for Muniain and Athletic still had the same desire to bear the brunt of the match. The difference being that Villarreal were now more comfortable on the field and were now sharpening their swords based on their speed in counterattack. The first three goalscoring occasions belonged to the Red-Whites. In the 53rd minute De Marcos finished off a pass that came from a good collective play with a weak shot at goal, immediately afterwards, Gabilondo walked right in, but Diego López saved the day with the tip of his foot and in the 56th Llorente didn’t dare to shoot for goal despite having everything in his favour.
The duel was coming apart more and more as time went by and the gaps proliferated, and against Villarreal, this is a synonym of risk. In spite of the fact that the Yellow team’s first goalscoring opportunity didn’t come until the 67th minute, with Rossi’s crossed line shot, but as the minutes ticked on things were getting more and more complicated, and how.
Caparrós sent Ion Vélez in to replace Toquero in the 68th minute and in the 70th Senna reinforced his midfield area by replacing Cani, and moving Valero to the left wing. Athletic’s attempts were in vain and Villarreal were looking more dangerous each time. Borja Valero’s shot at goal hit the post and soon afterwards, in the 77th minute, as if all the difficulties experienced beforehand were not enough, Aurtenetxe was shown his second yellow card, an easy choice for the referee.
De Marcos was sent to cover the left side of the field and, that’s really when the local goalscoring opportunities became plentiful. In the first two, Rossi was not spot on, but was in the third and did a good job against Iraizoz. Our feeling of pity was increasing by the second, as Diego López was able to clear Ion Vélez’s shot at goal from under the crossbar with his feet, and not knowing quite how he did it.
With one player less and already in the dying stages of this weekend’s match, Jefferson Montero rubbed more salt into the wound by scoring their fourth goal. The difference perhaps excessive, and a real shame, also for the hundreds of fans who supported us during the worst moments though these could have been fewer, however, we must put this defeat behind us, learn from our mistakes and give a good account of ourselves, as much as possible, in this week’s matches against Alcorcón and Almería. In Villarreal, that pitch where something always happens, maybe some other time.