Athletic Club 1 – Racing 1Athletic Club and Real Racing Club have drawn at one…
Athletic Club 1 – Racing 1
Athletic Club and Real Racing Club have drawn at one in San Mamés. Aurtenetxe and Alvaro, both with headers and in the second half, both defenders, although in different game circumstances, have been the authors of the goals that complete a result that leaves an undeniable sense of frustration. Once again Athletic has been superior to its rival, they monopolized the ball, created many more occasions than their opponent, and were the only ones that clearly bet on the victory; but, they also failed on many strategic plays and have seen for the third time in Liga how in the last minutes of a match, concretely in injury time, the rival equalizes the match, with the aggravating factor that today it was the second shot that reached the goalmouth.
A cruel draw, not because we did not know what was awaiting us, but because of how much it took us to get ahead, eighty minutes of struggle in ample spaces to recover the ball and try to make it reach the rival goal and having less metres and room to play.
And if we overlook the European meeting on Wednesday in Paris, we can expect more of the same on Saturday in San Mamés against Real Zaragoza, currently one of the last teams on the table in Liga and that without a doubt will visit us with the disposition that the match be less similar to a head-on duel. Iraola won’t be present if the Competition Committee decides to ban him due to the five yellows he’s seen. That is, that after losing against Granada and drawing against Racing, we hope to come out victorious in the last Liga meet of what’s left of the year.
Frustration after all, because the game and the team’s determination deserved more points, frustration also because believing in what one does is always more difficult when results haggle you and triple frustration since in these circumstances sterile debates are originated about people that are part of a collective effort; those that are present and those that aren’t, those that are more or less inspired, those that rise or fall before those that applaud with more zeal and those that don’t see it so clearly. Nothing new for a goal in injury time that has prevented us from speaking of an expensive victory and that one who pursues things normally obtains it; in short, another time perhaps.
Seeing the previous and as was foreseeable, it wasn’t difficult to describe the actual panorama in excruciating detail. Racing wanted to come out of the hole, both emotionally as well as in results, and it entrusted its Spartan order to Athletic’s unskillfulness, and sometimes even seemed resigned to what luck brought about on the counterattacks or perhaps an isolated strategic play. If Granada had ten, the Cantabrians had nine and a half at the time more than due to the result, helped by unusual local wobbly legs before the magnitude of the loot that loomed due to the wasted effort. In other words, Athletic was perhaps unable to be faithful in four minutes to that which they’d done in 90, or that trying to also do so in injury time could have cost them.
With ball control since the starting whistle, the beginning has been more electrical than other matches. Hence Iraola, in the minute four, appeared to have met with the rival goalmouth, but a defence deflected the ball to corner. Toquero recovered a ball in the hot zone, but his shot also ended up in corner, a fact that repeated itself until the initial quarter hour of play, but with no result from the corner kicks or from the free-kicks.
In the minute thirteen, Javi Martinez was unable to finish off and penetrations down the wings were frequent, however the crosses either ended up in Toño’s hands or there was no possibility to shoot on goal. Certainly, the pressure was commendable and in addition gave excellent results in the way of relatively fast recovery of the ball.
As it’s logical, as there was not much pressure and when the ball was recovered, the offers from teammates were not always concrete, a circumstance that happens in any match and that Racing took advantage of to create their dose of danger in the first half, although just before their forward, Arana, had to clear a shot from under the woods that Toño had deflected with his fists and that Colsa almost introduced involuntarily in his own goal.
Shortly after what was pointed out arrived, in the 27th minute a counterattack and shot into the area ended up with a short clearance by Iturraspe and finish by Diop that the same rojiblanco midfielder sent to corner, and in the 32nd Arana shot off target. Once the parenthesis passed, in the 34th Herrera shot on goal, the ball bounced off a rival, it hit the post and from there into Toño’s hands and not to Toquero who was awaiting events. And along those final minutes the interval arrived.
The second half began with Susaeta on the left and Muniain in the right wing, to maintain Cisma more aware of his position. New offensive with a closed cross by Iraola which Toño turned away, a shot that ended up in corner after another shot by Susaeta from his new placement in the 49th, and a clearer option in the 51st after a heel kick from Toquero, although Susaeta’s left-footed shot surpassed Toño, but went high over the crossbar.
Bielsa tried to rejuvenate his team by giving way to Gabilondo in for Susaeta and David Lopez in for De Marcos. Later, Amorebieta, who was complaining of back problems, was substituted by Ekiza in the 67.
The panorama, unalterable, arrivals down the wings and goal appetizer in the 71st with a shot from the right that Aurtenetxe finished off, but the defence was faster. Shortly after, Herrera’s level shot barely missed wide. Athletic Club was already tripling its opponent’s shots on goal, but the scoreboard remained the same and Racing was limited to execute its substitutions: Acosta in for Arana and Luque in for Adrián.
Finally, perseverance had its prize, though overdue, in the minute 80 after a cross from the right by Toquero which Aurtenetxe finished off with a header; the fullback’s first goal in an official match. As a curiosity, with this goal it is now ten starting line-up players that have scored in Liga, a relation that is extended to twelve with Gabilondo and David Lopez.
Racing was not moving, and the rojiblancos tried to score their second, Muniain finished off an individual play with a silky shot into the hands of Toño, David Lopez tried his luck with a cross and Toquero tried to repeat the goal play with Aurtenetxe. Unfortunately, a ball that Bernardo headed in the 86th just over the crossbar showed Racing’s players the strategy, more so after Stuani came in for Munitis.
Luque shot the ball for the first time to the goalmouth in the minute 90, but Iraizoz was there for the block and in injury time applied this time to the benefit of that who until then had squandered more time, Alvaro finished off with a header into the net the umpteenth foul in a short while. By the way, it wouldn’t be difficult to draw up a file of all those players that have scored their first goal, and often the only one in their careers, against Athletic Club.
And between said frustration and, why not say so a sensation of disbelieve, the match ended between what could have been and what actually occurred, in the search of multidisciplinary and multilateral solutions. We have one more week to try to add three, but meanwhile we still have Paris to once again savour a European championship which will be postponed until February and will be a luxury, whether we win or lose, not just to see the Eiffel Tower from afar, but especially to play against a team that, for starters, is not going to sit on their laurels.