Sevilla FC 1 – Athletic Club 2Athletic Club defeated Sevilla by 1-2. The goals have…
Sevilla FC 1 – Athletic Club 2
Athletic Club defeated Sevilla by 1-2. The goals have been the work of Iraola and De Marcos. The sevillista goal was scored by Navas. Eighteen years later, with some intervals by the hispalense team in Second Division, our team has been able to break their losing streak and has additionally done so in a brilliant and just manner and, perhaps too tight a win for what they deserved. In addition, this is their twelfth consecutive match without losing. A good mark, mainly because to the good run we must add tendency, which seems definitive after reaching 17 points, looking upwards on the table, and finishing the matchday either sixth or seventh.
This evening’s match, with the added bonus of fifteen days without competition for a team that came out strong, but that also needed a rest. Things were soon clarified: Athletic Club continued being the same that left such a good feeling after the match against FC Barcelona and, in addition, soon got ahead, synonymous of scoring in the present Liga, since the team has only begun losing before Espanyol, Betis and Malaga.
And after the week, whether the bottle of the three midfielders was half full (synonymous of more attack) or half empty (an excess of cautions) one of the two wing backs, Iraola, scored the 0-1 in the minute 6 after picking up a header cleared at the edge of the area and finished it off as it reached him, level and straining past the post.
A goal that has brought serenity to our rows, reason why those that today donned green continued in their ways: to play and play, pressuring, victories in individual duels and a cold head to choose vertical passes that surpassed enemy lines of pressure.
It’s was a pity that an excess of confidence when it came to bringing in a ball from the back and a combination of rebounds allowed Kanouté to prolong the ball to Navas who equalized the match at the quarter hour. After almost two decades of shortfalls at the Sanchez Pizjuán, the film rang a bell to almost all rojiblanco fans; a good start and later deflation with poor harvest of points.
Fortunately, today was not the day and the reaction was shaped in approaches to Varas’ goal. First San Jose, high header, later Llorente tapped a pass to Muniain to finish off but it was intercepted by a defence and a later free-kick by Iñigo Perez, who’s back on the line-up though this time as a midfielder, which was deflected to corner by Varas.
Things evened out a bit, not in initiative, pressure and sense of game, but in opportunities when Negredo connected a header with good intention but worse direction and, especially, with a ball that came from his right and made our goalie work out. Between both attempts, the faith of this team, the player’s (who are dragging aches) capacity of sacrifice and the ease that they have to reach shot-on-goal opportunities, have been personified in a ball recovered by Llorente and passed to Herrera so that he could shoot a level shot but it barely missed wide. Just before the break, while local spectators, doubtful in many ways during the match as to whom to criticize, took it up on the referee; Llorente was clearly pushed when trying to unravel a corner kick, but things didn’t go further.
It was proven in the first half that Sevilla had, at least, respect towards Athletic; a sensation perceived in other matches even before the duel against FC Barcelona that filled so many pages and programs as a paradigm of a blatant and convinced team of what it does. Without it being Llorente plus ten that play for it, but Llorente and ten more that play for everyone, even though there are a few days still to go some, and others following, Marcelino’s men tried to close the lines without luck, although they reached the break with a tie on the scoreboard.
In view of re-start of play, still no substitutions, questions arose, as for example the initial motivation. It seemed that Sevilla had decided to press rojiblanca balls with determination, very smooth in the first half and almost always low. A poisoned free-kick by Perotti without anyone there to finish it off and a shot from outside the area which Iraizoz saved twice, have been the local offensive moves, accompanied in the minute 68 by a shot, equally or farther by Manu del Moral, who had come in to substitute Negredo.
On the other end, Athletic took a few minutes to reposition, but once it got to work it gave its opponent a full review. The monologue had as a first point a ball that left Susaeta all alone before Palop, but instead of shooting on goal he tried to send it to Llorente, but without cause.
The minute 56 was running and five minutes later Llorente shot on goal with a header but off target, though he had a clearer option in the minute 61, after receiving a pass from Herrera with his chest, but he was unable to finish it off. However he sent the ball back to Herrera and his shot was saved by Spahic from near the goalmouth, with a later shot on goal by Llorente just to the side of the post.
Shortly after that Gabilondo came in for Susaeta. Athletic was already playing with ease; with faster movements than those of our rivals, distancing with sense, assisting and putting on a lot of pressure. And thanks to it, meeting with the pace of the occasion every five minutes, a stolen ball allowed Muniain to send pass to Oscar De Marcos similar to those practiced during training sessions, his tap bounced off Varas and the ball remained loose a couple of meters from the line and De Marcos, the other lateral of the half-full/half-empty bottle of the five midfielders, put our team ahead.
Armenteros came in for Perotti, as Rakitic did just before for Trochowski, although the changes did not substantially contribute any improvement to the panorama. In fact, it was Gabilondo who had the chance to score the third, but a defender has been luckier and faster.
With an unbalanced position in favour of our interests (65%) and for the rival’s desperation, Athletic Club kept touching and touching, but with sense, it enjoyed the ball, it read the pace of the match rather well, and more so after Cáceres had to withdraw due to an injury with all substitutions already done. In fact, they played the same way, as if the rival still had eleven and the third was closer than anything, despite the uncertainty that a small advantage gives.
In that line this time Varas was able to break up a one-on-one with Muniain, while at the Pizjuán many spectators surrendered to the powerful visitors with scattered applauses and reproaches to one or more local players.
In the end, fair, deserved and short victory that demonstrates that the team can give, in fact it does, face before powerful championship teams, characteristic teams or destined to being so, such as Villarreal, Atlético Madrid, Valencia or FC Barcelona.
In addition, without injuries or sanctions to have to talk about, the new challenge is to turn the match against Granada CF on Sunday the thirteenth consecutive undefeated meet and what must come, if it does come, it shall be welcomed.