RCD Mallorca 1-Athletic Club 0Athletic Club lost to Mallorca by 1-0. Webo, in the 11th…
RCD Mallorca 1-Athletic Club 0
Athletic Club lost to Mallorca by 1-0. Webo, in the 11th minute of the game, scored the evening’s only goal from a pass by N’sue. From then on the Red/White attempts to equalize the encounter all came to nothing. Our fifth consecutive victory did not come about, but the team are still in fifth spot to keep the European target intact right from the start of the season, that is, to be among the top seven at the end of the League.
After having played a weak game during the first half and somewhat better in the second, the team came close to scoring. However, just like everyone knows in football, for some we have gone from being almost champions to utter failures, but just as we said last week, there’s still a lot of League left, for the better or for the worse. At least with regards to the four first rivals that we have already measured ourselves up against this calendar year, the goalscoring average in particular favours Athletic Club.
Suddenly, Athletic Club showed that they wanted to win the match, although today was definitely not their day. Now in the second minute Toquero finished off with a high header and one minute later Castro had a great opportunity, but he couldn’t beat Iraizoz who had stepped forward and his shot went out.
Athletic had the initiative, whereas Mallorca were in a vertical position but to play away from home and bear the brunt of the match is something that though expected is of little consolation. Athletic hit back in the 10th minute, but a defender who was on the goal line was able to clear Toquero’s header as a result of the corner and a possible score of 0-1 went on to become a definite 1-0 seventy seconds later when Webo scored the goal from a deadly pass kicked by N’sue.
The squad who wear in blue/white yesterday wanted to go after the match, but the host team seemed to be more in tune and had clearer chances of scoring the second, just like in the 15th minute when Pereira had a go with a header. On behalf of the visitors, just before swapping positions with Munain on the wing, David López gave Aouate a workout with a shot at goal taken from outside the area that ended in corner.
Athletic were lacking in speed, something that the Vermillion squad seemingly had too much of and though the goalscoring opportunities were not absolutely clear, the feeling that Mallorca could seal the clash at any time was floating in the cold air in Palma. For example, Iraizoz had to move forward towards N’sue in the 32nd minute and soon afterwards De Guzmán was the star of a spectacular and vertical counterattack that was ruined at the last moment. Llorente’s header missed in the 38th, but once again the clearest goalscoring opportunity belonged to Mallorca when, in the 41st minute, Iraizoz repelled Pereira’s shot at goal the best he could, Pereira was aided by the swiftness of the pitch, and then Webo was not spot on when it came to the rebound.
On a positive note, the difference was not insurmountable, however, unfortunately Athletic were once more left scoreless, quite rare this season. During the second half the encounter only had one master, Athletic Club and with the exception of Pereira’s shot at goal that was saved by Iraizoz, the goalscoring opportunities belonged to our team. However, with no luck when it came to scoring, and with the sword of Damocles hanging over every lost ball and with every local counterattack move.
Shortly after the second half got underway Gabilondo stepped in for Koikili as left-winger. The ball circulated better, quicker, but only at times, and once again with a combination of simple moves with deep passes in search of Llorente first and then Llorente and Urko, and some opportunities could be worth mentioning: in the 56th when San José’s shot at goal hit the second post and with little angle, was caught by Aouate, Iraola couldn’t get his aim right after having intercepted a drop kick by Muniain in the 61st and in the 70th Llorente had the ball taken off him at the very last moment.
By then Susaeta had already replaced David López and Joao Victor had also replaced Castro, Caparrós wanted more depth and Laudrup wanted more control of the game. It could be said that neither of them achieved their goal, but the local coach didn’t mind as much, especially because Athletic, loyal to their usual style with the score against them, ran one risk after another.
More substitutions in the final stretch. Urko Vera was sent in to replace Toquero and Tejera in for Pereira. There was only ten minutes to go and the ball boys were slower and less discreet than in the first half, nor was a long injury time given despite Aouate being shown a yellow card in the 70th minute for wasting time.
Either a goal had to be scored or our winning streak would end and Urko Vera, his second match while wearing the Athletic shirt, had two goalscoring opportunities, the first on the half turn that sailed over the crossbar and later with a nice shot at goal that was caught by Aouate.
Good intentions that came to nothing today, but when it comes to winning, having your feet firmly on the ground is essential (Athletic is fifth in the League) in order to maintain and pursue the objectives established at the beginning of the season (to be among the top seven at the end of the League) and to bring back those good vibrations. Now it’s not exactly time for the theoretically “attainable” part of the league calendar but the degree of difficulty makes it even more attractive.