Villarreal CF VS Athletic Club 2/26/2012 | Athletic Club’s Official Website
Matchday 25

Villarreal CF2 : 2Athletic Club

Marcos Senna10'
El Madrigal
12:00 PM
Date and time
2/26/2012 - 12:00 PM

High Noon Face-Off Produces a Well-Deserved Point

Villarreal 2 – Athletic Club 2 Athletic Club tied the match 2-2 in Madrigal Stadium…

Feb 26, 2012

Villarreal 2 – Athletic Club 2

Athletic Club tied the match 2-2 in Madrigal Stadium in Villarreal, subsequently ending a demanding week with a good result which allows us to look ahead at the top spots in the general standing of La Liga. Senna with a free kick scored the first goal in the match and Llorente and Susaeta in the second half put Athletic on top, but Nilmar tied it up 2-2 in an exciting, wide-open encounter. Los Leones brought a point back to Bilbao, but if they had returned with three points, it wouldn’t have been a total surprise. Now, Athletic will have a week off in La Liga, although the international commitments will be demanding of most of the team members before preparing for the next match against Real Sociedad. Iturraspe will not play against Real due to accumulation of yellow cards.

The start of the match was very balanced, although our team was looking forward to taking control over the game. Diego López intercepted Iraola’s pass, and Susaeta held the ball too long before passing it to Toquero. In the 10th minute of the match, Herrera committed a foul, and Senna, with a free kick, scored the first goal for Villarreal.

After the first goal, Los Leones did not react and Villarreal continued attacking Iraizoz’ net. Valero shot off a rocket, but luckily for Athletic Valero’s shot went to the stands. Martinucchio’s shot ended up out of left field.

It took almost 25 minutes for Athletic to wake up and smell the coffee. In this new phase, Los Leones started approaching the enemy lines more frequently, but without any occasions to score the first goal. Our team was putting on some pressure via strategic attacks. First, David López (He played first string because Amorebieta, Muniain and De Marcos didn’t play this match) fired a free kick. Then, Senna again, in a free kick, tried to score but Iraizoz tipped the ball away from the defensive line. David López struck hard but Villarreal’s goalkeeper blocked the shot. Martinucchio and Susaeta gave it a go also, but without any luck.

Marco Ruben was injured and substituted by Nilmar. In the 41st minute of the first half, Iñigo Pérez passed from the corner to the rival area and Javi Martínez almost scored with a header. Cani and Nilmar from Villarreal answered back and sent two headers out of the field. After the first half, Llorente replaced David López. It was clear that the match’s second half would be different from the first half. Cani and Valero were looking forward to attacking Athletic’s defensive line, but this also aided in Athletic’s chances to reach Villarreal’s area with more consistency. In short, it was a fine show, especially for a neutral fan.

Chances for goal were prevalent, but more so for Athletic. Gonzalo tried with a bicycle kick, and meanwhile the fourth referee informed the first referee of Aurtenetxe’s block with the hand, and subsequently was yellow-carded. In reality, Athletic has never lost a match with Iglesias Villanueva. In the 53rd minute, Llorente had a fabulous opportunity to score, after receiving a pass from Iraola, but his header went outside, almost grazing the post. Nilmar, in the 58th, very softly tapped the ball, and Iraizoz easily blocked it off with his hands. Shortly after, Iraizoz’ childish behaviour almost cost Athletic a second goal, but fortunately, Martinucchio shot the ball outside to the terrace.

In the 60th minute, Senna launched the ball to Iraizoz’ area, but the goalkeeper blocked the ball. In the 61st minute, Toquero passed the ball to Llorente and El Rey León, with a header, tied the match. With an elevated rhythm, events rendered themselves known in a heat of frenzy. Iñigo Pérez received a yellow card and Nilmar kicked the ball hard outside, just short of reaching its destination. Right away, in a furious counterattack, Herrera sent a pass to Susaeta, and with his left foot, scored the goal.

Cani was replaced by Camuñas, and Valero was forced to change his natural position. Ekiza substituted for Iñigo Pérez in order to play with three defenders. Minutes later, Villarreal scored for goal, which made all of the changes null and void. Iraizoz was incapable of blocking the ball and Nimar tied the match. From this point on, there were twenty more gruelling minutes to go for both teams to garner the three points, and there were many rojiblanco fans supporting Athletic.

Llorente, who already has scored thirteen goals in Liga, was pushed down in the penalty area, but the referee didn’t signal a penalty kick. In the 73rd minute of the match, Oriol shot the ball out of the field and the ref showed a yellow card, which was to be his fifth, eliminating him for the next match against La Real Sociedad.

Martinucchio shot the ball far away from the net into the stands, and by this time, both coaches had exhausted all substitution options. Ibai replaced Toquero and Hernán Pérez substituted Martinucchio. Iraizoz tipped away Camuñas’ shot and there was more to come.

In the 87th minute of the match, Llorente had one of the grandest opportunities of this fixture, but Diego López, the goalkeeper, saved the ball with his elbow. In the 89th, again López stopped Ibai’s shot, and again in the 91st, he was able to tip the ball outside. Sadly, luck was not on our side; we had chances, but we were unsuccessful. However, the result was admirable for Athletic because less than 72 hours earlier, they played an intense match in the European League.

A point in order to continue looking ahead, but nevertheless, there is questionable doubt in the air…one point won or two lost, that would be the question? Fortunately, it is a question that doesn’t have an answer in the sport of football.