Athletic Club 2 – PSG 0 Athletic Club obtained their first victory in San Mamés…
Athletic Club 2 – PSG 0
Athletic Club obtained their first victory in San Mamés (second of the season, both in European competition) after defeating Paris Saint-Germain by 2-0, with goals from Gabilondo and Susaeta, both in the first half and that served to certify a well-managed advantage in the second half, mainly after the Sissoko was sent off in the first minutes of re-start of play.
With this result our team is all alone at the head of Group F and, also in continental competition, it accomplished not to concede any goals for the second time, both in San Mamés. With hardly no time to enjoy the victorious opening in La Catedral, on Sunday the Liga awaits at the hand of Real Sociedad, a new opportunity to overcome in the regularity competition.
It’s been a European night to remember; both because of the result as for the good chemistry between the team and its followers; a good symptom that seems to direct to us towards the right key, as difficult as it may be to speak about in something as ever-changing as football. A prestigious victory obtained against the team that heads the French League, with players with pedigree, whose alignment has been designed by its Coach, without a any doubt to continue the run of ten matches undefeated (eight wins and two draws) although we will never miss the voices that speak to us about the rival as a sort of work team, but that’s what there is; sometimes a lot, others a little.
The team, at least, has been able to make its followers vibrate several times during the match and, in spite of the characteristics of its game, moving forward without repairing on expenses with the associative knife in their mouth, it has been a while since the team has won a match with such tranquillity, even with one more player on the pitch, something to always be thankful for.
The first minutes began with a desire to command, nothing new, with braided plays and the finish around Llorente, in the minute 2 with a forced left-footed shot, in the sixth without any problems for the goalie and later with a good header pass which Muniain was barely able to reach. Good game pace by both teams, but two different ways to face the match.
In view of said numerical superiority of the rojiblancos, the Parisians chose to wait and to try to surprise on the counterattack, supported by three players, its captain Bodner, Pastore and Néné. The panorama showed us a team that got inside with six or more players and which achieved quantitative superiority, since the rival went in to defend with minimal resources waiting to take advantage of errors in the final passes.
Aurtenetxe has seen the first yellow after the first foul of a night coated with wax. From that play the referee harvested numerous whistles. While Athletic threatened with Susaeta, a high foul kick, it was inevitable to imagine a scene similar to that of previous days: control, superiority and goalless arrivals to the area.
However, this time the sceptics have rubbed salt on the wound and in addition after quality plays. In one of them, De Marcos passed to Llorente, who passed it back to him deep and his centre from the right was finished off by Gabilondo in an acrobatic volley to bring ecstasy to the stands. It was the minute 19 of play.
The French answer has been instantaneous, and dangerous, though not excessively extended in time. While they wanted to move forward and while our team continued playing the same way, things were not apt for people with a heart condition. With the advantage, Athletic has persevered in the search for numerical superiority on the attack, while the back was more exposed than desired.
Such as things were, Iraizoz had to risk it by dangerously coming out of the area to the feet of a forward and later hand with yellow card included. In the next free-kick Néné made him stretch and he saved another shot from the same player at the half hour.
After the interchange of blows, Athletic found itself more comfortable with control at the wheel, with the ball in their control, support in short plays and long and deep displacements; quite spectacular for spectators. The better they played the more confidence and the distant shots by Muniain and a cross by Gabilondo, also had a response with a shot from Bodner -wide- and in a horizontal dash by Tiéné with his right, which was luckily off target.
Despite all this, the prize has remained at home, since in the first half injury time, a centre from the left by Aurtenetxe found Susaeta to finish off in the opposite post; a goal and tons of tranquillity. At the break we were leading two-nil in addition to the yellow Sissoko was booked with for accumulation of fouls.
The question seemed anecdotal, but it revealed itself as transcendental, more than for the ultimate result, so that the encounter could be settled environmentally enough before the final. After individual shots on goal by Llorente and Erdinç, a mad dash by Muniain was cut off with a foul by Sissoko and the referee chose to book him with a second yellow.
And the match was over. The truth is that it had been a while since our team did not combine result and the worried situation of the opponent. And it has done so with the ball in their control, maintaining quantitative superiority and adding the qualitative.
Pastore has been the first to parade from the match, with the possibility of equalizing already remote, but Athletic didn’t rest in its laurels. De Marcos shot wide with his left and Muniain controlled the ball as if he were from another planet with a shot on goal from the beginning of the 68 course, while the spectators truly enjoyed what they were seeing.
In our side, Iturraspe replaced Susaeta and except for some approaches by the visitors, like a high shot by Bahebeck, Athletic have kept the necessary calm to coincide with the rival in that at the weekend there are important matches. Adding to his record, Ibai premiered in European competition when he substituted Gabilondo and Toquero prevented that Muniain underwent more bruises and cuts.
A fine match that puts us in a good position in the UEL, which makes us think that hitting the right key is possible and must have its endorsement on Sunday in Anoeta. There’s no harm in asking.