Athletic Club 2 Espanyol 1Athletic Club defeated RCD Espanyol by 2-1, a rival who up…
Athletic Club 2 Espanyol 1
Athletic Club defeated RCD Espanyol by 2-1, a rival who up until this match had a 5-match winning streak, the goals were scored by Llorente and David López during the second half and allowed us to prevail over Osvaldo’s goal in the first half. On the other hand, our team has tallied up their fifth consecutive victory in the league as hosts and must repeat this feat but this time as visitors in the duel against Levante in Valencia, which will be the last league appointment of the year 2010.
Espanyol faced up to the match as the fourth-placed team in the standings and were a strong candidate in becoming the third-placed team, a team that are overflowing in good ball skills and make the most out of the gaps between lines for Osvaldo to do his thing. Up front our team wanted to apply the pressure, and when it came to attack, they tried to obviate the first Blue-White line with passes that did not go past the midfield area.
The visitors put their theory into practice early. Whereas the crowd were getting increasingly irritated at the referee because of his disparity of criterion, Espanyol kept doing their thing. First, Luis García with a soft header that Iraizoz sent to corner just in case and despite the two goalscoring opportunities at the hands of Muniain and Toquero, with a header, the real goalscoring opportunities belonged to the visiting team. The comparison was, at that moment, hateful.
Osvaldo, whilst in a doubtful position, was face to face with Iraizoz, but the goalie guessed right, just as he did shortly afterwards when he ruined a double attempt a chip shot by both Osvaldo and Verdú. Similar moves with identical outcomes, so much so that it had looked like a repetition. On the other hand, there was only one local counterblow, intercepted way too soon for Chica to be booked, and which ignited the situation in the stands even more, it’s worth mentioning that Verdú, who yesterday was positioned more towards the back than usual, did not let up in his attempt to position himself between the lines and then he came up with an assist with relative ease for Osvaldo, Ok this time, to score in the 33rd minute.
The panorama looked glum, however, Athletic called on their class and courage right until the break, when there weren’t any Espanyol players on the ground that is. In fact, besides Muniain’s timid shot at goal with his left that was caught by Kameni and Dátolo’s reply that Iraizoz ruined perfectly, the Red-Whites had a couple of goalscoring opportunities to equalize the match, one was when Toquero intercepted Llorente’s header, but his shot at goal went astray and the other occurred during injury time when Iraola’s shot at goal sailed over the crossbar despite being in a quite a favourable position.
After the interval Orbaiz replaced Javi Martínez and took the helm midfield. To start with, the news was not good. Amorebieta justifiable so received his fifth yellow card and won’t be able to play against Levante next Saturday. Minutes later another incident like that of Amorebieta occurred and perhaps this is one of the few cases in the world of football in which the very own fans demand, a booking, or whatever, with their murmuring, but at zero expense.
Nevertheless, having overcome the dark dawning of the second half, the crowd got down to it at the same time as the team did, without losing it, but also without lowering the intensity. Espanyol had to resign themselves to not crossing the field’s centre line except on a few occasions, while Athletic combined well with good judgement and recuperated the ball quickly. This being like so the goalscoring opportunities were bound to come knocking on the door. The first came in the 55th minute when Susaeta’s pass to the centre was not finished off well by neither Llorente nor Toquero, and what’s worse the latter was given a foul. It was Susaeta’s last contribution to the match, seeing that David López was waiting on the wing to substitute him.
Llorente, by fits and starts in the 59th minute, stood up to Kameni, but his line shot was deflected with the right. The other David López, from Espanyol, replaced Dátolo, but the substitution was in vain because the ball had been alien to them for quite some time. Athletic moved the ball around with criterion and in the 73rd minute, as a result of a play from side to side, the equalizing goal came about, following Iraola’s good pass to the centre from the right and a great header by Llorente that Kameni could only stifle.
There was only one team on the pitch and the crowd, in spite of the draw, were happy with the change in trend, play and image given. Muniain had the next goalscoring opportunity, that was repelled by Kameni but there was no one to finish the clearance that followed off. On the contrary, to date, the match seemed to be predestined to the bench players and David López, in the 78th minute, took a masterfully struck foul shot that reached the area where the spiders rest, brought about the comeback. So then Espanyol sped things up more, but neither of their two substitutions: Álvaro in for Duscher and Sergio García in for Callejón were allowed to create a single goalscoring opportunity and in fact they had no opportunities throughout the entire second half.
Toquero did have an opportunity during injury time, this period being a prelude to our fifth consecutive League victory at home in what was a two-faced match and the first time our team has been able to turn the tables on a disadvantageous initial score since the 2-all draw against Gijón. Now it’s time to experience what it’s like to return from an away game with points in the bag, but to verify this we’ll have to wait until Saturday and it’s more comfortable to do this when you are in the top spots in the league ladder.