Sporting 1 – Athletic Club 1Athletic Club drew 1-1 on their visit to Sporting Gijon,…
Sporting 1 – Athletic Club 1
Athletic Club drew 1-1 on their visit to Sporting Gijon, with which they reach their eighth consecutive match without losing. Susaeta opened up the scoreboard in the second half and, later, Bilic equalized for the Asturians after a lucky rebound from Barral. This is the fourth draw while visiting El Molinón since the locals returned to First Division, a great number of our fans travelled to attend the match and, what’s worse, after disputing the match on a pitch that was not in its optimal condition, another two injuries to add, David Lopez and Ekiza, with sprained ankles.
Quite honestly, though ball possession has been Athletic’s, in first half Sporting has been better; they pressured well, and had our back more than we could have wished for. In the second half our team improved, but without the necessary clarity to define.
In the first minute of play Barral put on the pressure and shot on goal high with his left marking the tendency of the first half: long balls to enter San Jose and Ekiza’s backyard and turn up the pressure. Let’s just say their midfielders didn’t have much to do from the back, especially on idle balls.
Llorente, who’s taken part in the game, demanded a penalty for a foul by Lora, but it didn’t seem it. It was the beginning of a tedious relation of plays in which penalties were requested. Before going on to the next controversial play Herrera shot right into Juan Pablo’s hands, the referee booked Iraola with a yellow, a play which in basketball would seem as a foul on the attack and his shot went wide.
Barral was once again the star in the minute 17, when he dribbled past San Jose, and sending the shot too long, he threw himself in the area and at the break he asked the ref to phone for the play or something like that, meanwhile the local spectators stayed with the impression of the heat of the moment and remained that way for the rest of the morning. Either for one reason or another, Athletic couldn’t grasp the match.
As an example another ball to the backyard in the 19th was provincially cut off by Iturraspe when Castro was ready to shoot towards Iraizoz. Athletic had the ball and Sporting the opportunities. It’s also the fact that they label you as favourite.
Susaeta and Trejo, with a penetration to Muniain, were added to the list of those that were cautioned, though it’s incredible that during the whole second half not one Sporting player was warned. Finally our team created a serious opportunity, Llorente with his left forced Juan Pablo to deflect his shot with his foot. Good attempt, but until the interval it’s been Sporting who’s had the clearest options, both of which have been rather clear.
First Trejo received a gift within the area that Iraizoz saved and soon after Barral, in the 42nd, shot a line drive, but Gorka Iraizoz followed the same footpath as last Thursday. Once in the first half injury time another play to discuss, when Eguren cleared a corner kick with his arm.
In the changing rooms Ekiza, injured, and Toquero occupied his place, which brought about a change in the team’s arrangement: In the back Iraola, San Jose, Aurtenetxe, De Marcos; in the midfield Iturraspe, Herrera, Muniain and as forwards Toquero, Llorente and Susaeta.
In any case, the first real option has been for Castro in the 46th, but his shot went wide. Little by little the rojiblancos, donning black this morning, took control of the match. Susaeta was a bit off target with a header in the 48th, Aurtenetxe shot high from far off and on the hour of play David Lopez substituted Muniain which gave way to the preface of the coming goal. A corner kick by David Lopez was combed by Toquero and Susaeta, from the far post put our team ahead on the scoreboard. It was the most difficult.
Immediately following, Ibai replaced Llorente in the minute 64, Preciado substituted Bilic for Rivera. Athletic recomposed with Iturraspe’s entry who placed himself between both centres and Toquero was already a central forward. The team was not having many difficulties and tried to snag, David Lopez strove to connect with Toquero, while in the back Iturraspe only had a nose bleed after clashing with Bilic. The player who had recently entered the game was going to be lucky, since round the 71st minute one of his shots involuntarily encountered with Barral and gained enough height to avoid Iraizoz.
Sporting, as was logical, gained confidence and Luis Moran came in for Trejo, as did Damián Suarez for an injured Lora. And as occurred in the first half, the locals created another two goal occasions, a clear one by Eguren in the 81st, with a wide shot from the penalty mark, and a clearer one from Barral in the 85th after finishing off with a header from up close, but Iraizoz was there for the save. It was as clear an option as the previous push by Barral onto Iturraspe.
The last minutes, like in Valencia and on other occasions, the team finished up with ball possession and on the opposite side of the pitch. In the end something that’s becoming a habit on each visit to Gijon after Sporting returned to First Division. And now, after the eighth meet without losing and with new tenants on the injury lists, comes another calm week with a trip to Salzburg and visit from Barcelona to San Mamés.