Athletic Club 3 – Osasuna 1 Athletic Club defeated Club Atlético Osasuna 3-1 in the…
Athletic Club 3 – Osasuna 1
Athletic Club defeated Club Atlético Osasuna 3-1 in the first LaLiga match after a two-week break. Muniain, Gabilondo and Javi Martinez were the goal scorers, all of which occurred in the first half, whereas Nekounam, with a penalty, reduced distances for the visitors.
First home victory in Liga play, after two draws and one defeat; second consecutive victory in the same competition and second victory also in the Basque derbies; third consecutive match victory and fourth without a defeat. On the table however, nothing is so shining, but things are looking up. The numbers are not as bad nor was the game played. Thus, there’s everything to gain in view of the start of the cascade of seven matches in three weeks. Without going further FC Salzburg visits La Catedral on Thursday.
Before this however let’s take a look at the match against Osasuna, who responded to prior expectations: an open, dynamic and disputed game. From kick off no one stopped, sometimes not even to think. In fact just a few seconds into the match Iturraspe enjoyed a great occasion to inaugurate the scoreboard, but was unable to make contact with a centre from the left wing.
Osasuna didn’t fold and chose Lamah as their main danger creator. In fact he barely followed Iraola in his incursions, which offered him quite a few precious meters of advantage to unbalance the counterattack on many occasions. He took his first shot in the minute 6 right into Iraizoz’ hands, although in the 9th his attempt with his right was clearer. After rebounding off Amorebieta, the ball was deflected by Iraizoz and the latter shot at goal by Nino was also caught by the goalkeeper. In the 13th Nino finished off a header thrown inside the area, however, it went high.
Athletic was able to reach and the danger was for Osasuna. In truth, as soon as they began to finish off, things were evened out. Susaeta had the first clear attempt to score, after receiving a pass from Muniain in the 22nd, but his cross was sent to corner by a defence. In both corner kicks Andrés Fernandez was there to make the save with his fists. The pressure when the ball came into play was one of the incentives for both teams, but as the minutes passed the outcome was shifting towards the local team, even on the scoreboard.
Before the one-nil, Nekounam made an attempt which Iraizoz deflected. Shortly after, concretely at the half hour of play, Osasuna stopped giving signals of their ever so decreasing capacity to react and, with that the possibility of scoring. The process has been rather swift. On the half hour of play a fast counterattack was finished off with ‘a killer pass’ by Susaeta to Llorente, who couldn’t find a position to score and from the ground he assisted Muniain who lodged the ball with his left far from Andrés’ control.
Immediately following that, a free-kick was shot by Puñal against Iraizoz’ body, Osasuna had to worry more about defending than attacking. Gabilondo scored the second in the minute 37 after an awesome counterattack, cross by Iraola, a shot on goal by Llorente that hit Roversio’s hand and, with no time for a call by the referee, Gabilondo scored the 2-0 with his right.
Lolo substituted Roversio who was somewhat injured and when everything led to thinking that the break would finish with a two goal advantage, Javi Martinez initiated a play that allowed him to score the third goal, perhaps the most beautifully executed. He stole the ball at midfield, began the attack after opening the ball to the right and ran to the area to finish off a perfect centre from Andoni Iraola with a header.
On restart of play, following the break, Aurtenetxe substituted Gabilondo, which remodelled the line-up. De Marcos moved closer to Llorente, Muniain changed to the right wing and Susaeta to the left. Athletic, which is a good sign, didn’t stay behind waiting for things to happen. What’s more they were looking for the fourth until the circumstances of the match advised them to save energy in this unreasonable schedule that some call a calendar. On this matchday, with no further ado, all teams that are immersed in European competitions are safeguarding themselves since Saturday to reach this week’s commitments in better condition. We, however, have to play on Monday when, not needing to go further, there was no First Division match played on Sunday at 20:00.
And back on the pitch, in the 51st minute, De Marcos shot a tremendous left but it barely missed wide in a play in which he didn’t lose a whit of his pace, and that together with the local thrust landed Osasuna in the cave. The first minutes of the second half left spectators totally satisfied who, despite the abusive hour, gathered in masses in San Mamés. At times the game has been spectacular, with accurate ball control, a circumstance that left the team from Pamplona with no capability and almost no desire to react.
On the hour of play Ibrahima came in for Cejudo, although to substitute him he had to wait for a tremendous rojiblanca ball possession to end. In the middle of the storm Lamah was booked with an innocent yellow for having protested, unthinkable origin at that time which would later turn into a sent off. In the minute 70, during a dispute with Muniain, his hand struck the latter in the face, apparently involuntarily, however the referee considered it worthy of a card.
However, the Rojillos tried to give the understanding that the guilty one was the chosen player, since months back, as public enemy number one within the inherent contradictions to the sporting or academy model of the club from Pamplona. Just in case, the referee saved Lolo from being booked with a card, although the news was that once the sent off was completed Athletic was already looking forward to their forthcoming European engagement.
In the Osasuna rows Annunziata substituted Nino, in our team Toquero replaced Muniain and the recently incorporated player has been the star of the most dangerous plays. In one of them Susaeta took control of a rebound, he back passed to Aurtenetxe whose left shot was deflected by Andrés, who shortly after blocked another shot by Aurtenetxe.
Finally Herrera enjoyed some minutes in Susaeta’s position and the clapping covered some stages until Javi Martinez fell on a ball in his own area and the referee called a penalty, which Nekounam converted although with few practical effects in the final result. After all, it’s an important victory to reinforce the cause before the imminent European encounter.
Meanwhile, off the pitch, just to highlight the presence of those that visited the San Mamés Presidential Box: the President of Kaiku, ACT League champion, Jose Manuel Monje and Josu Zabalondo, President of Urdaibai, the winner of La Concha Rowing Trophy. Also in attendance were the presidents of Portugalete and Zierbena, clubs that achieved their promotion to the ACT League, Javier González and Jose Luis Herrerias, respectively. Among others present were Venezuela’s national selector, Caesar Farías, and representatives of Lugo’s O Polbo Vermellobranco Supporters’ Club.