PSG 4 – Athletic Club 2Athletic Club has been defeated by PSG (4-2) in the…
PSG 4 – Athletic Club 2
Athletic Club has been defeated by PSG (4-2) in the sixth and last matchday of the UEL Group Stage. Pastore, Bodmer, Iñigo Perez (own goal) and Hourau, from a penalty, scored the local goals; whereas Aurtenetxe and David Lopez scored for our team. Those that donned green kits today opened up the scoreboard at the start of each half, but the Parisians have shown to be more effective at the end of each period.
Nevertheless, PSG has not qualified for the Round of 32 whereas Salzburg, who has done their work on their visit to Slovan Bratislava, has. Athletic Club had already qualified as first in the group, a circumstance that allowed Marcelo Bielsa to align non-starters or players that have disputed less minutes to date (Raul, Ibai, Gabilondo, Ekiza, San Jose, David Lopez, Iñigo Perez) and, in addition, Ruiz de Galarreta is added to the list of players who have had the privilege of donning our team’s jersey in an official match.
At the end of stage and with everything on track came our first defeat, the easiest to assume if there is such a thing, although evidently, even when the result is adverse, behind each match it’s possible to extract positive readings beyond the figures that the scoreboard indicates. What has been most noticeable is we’ve seen that our team does not change its ways of playing independently of the players that are aligned and that chooses to always be the protagonist of the match, and that’s how it’s been at Parc des Princes, even though a priori the conditions were more propitious for the opponent to take the weight.
On the other hand, today’s match leaves other elements for improvement, for example the defence on strategic plays, as was seen in the first local goal or the advantage of attacks and counterattacks in numerical superiority.
Even so, Athletic’s start has been superb, worthy of a team that had at stake somewhat more than the expected honour of any competition; respect for itself and to the interests of all the contenders. By the minute 2, Gabilondo warned with a volley, the house brand, which the goalie parried off to corner; however, our team immediately produced sparks from, finally, the strategic favour. David Lopez shot the ball to the near post where Aurtenetxe ratified his goal scorer vein with an accurate header to score the 0-1.
The same defence almost scored the second in the minute 10, but in this case a rival player managed to clear to corner. The result of Bratislava maintained the French alive, but on the pitch only green existed. Without noticing its rejuvenated alignment, the pressure and good ball circulation were their two main priorities so as to maintain the four most skilful PSG players, and therefore the ball, far from Raul, a newcomer this season.
Unfortunately, before a weak PSG, a team play in the minute 21 brought about the draw. Nené shot the ball into the area where Bahebeck headed it to Pastore who scored without opposition.
Once again we re-start and good reaction by Athletic Club. The rojiblancos had their options by means of a cross by Gabilondo deflected by Dohez, and a shot by Iñigo Perez in the 28th, warded away with great difficulty by the goalie and later finished off by Gabilondo, but he was off sides. However, Pastore and company began to have less opposition and demanded a lot from Raul. First, Gameiro forced him come to his feet in the 32, later he had to play it before Pastore with the rebound sent wide by Bahebeck, although the second goal again arrived on a strategic play. Concretely, from a corner hopelessly headed in by Bodmer. The 2-1 did not prevent further harassment to continue and that, in the 44th, Raul had to put himself to full use before Gameiro.
At the break PSG was classified, however in the minute 47 Salzburg scored what would be the definitive 2-3 that left Komboure’s men out of the UEL. Without changes in either team, the script of the first half was repeated, with an Athletic decided on equalizing the match, with readjusted pressure, and good ball movements in spite of the precarious playing field condition.
Ibai enjoyed the first occasion in the 51st, but his left-footed shot went high over the crossbar. Far better was a good serve by the team shot by Iñigo Perez towards the rival midfield where David Lopez ran with the ball and, without thinking it over, connected a tremendous right that brought about the equalizer at two goals in the 55th.
This circumstance did not diminish Athletic Club’s expectations, which added new opportunities to their baggage. First Iraola parried a low drive in the 63rd, but too curved, just shortly after Susaeta had replaced Toquero and continued in the same position carrying out the same role as centre forward. He had it from that position in the minute 66, but his shot with the left barely missed wide. Ibai missed a pass to a teammate in a clear counterattack and Muniain substituted Gabilondo.
Later Aurtenetxe once again became the protagonist, first in his own area with a cross in the 74 and soon after in rival’s after shooting high in the 79th. In view of the final stretch that few imagined would elapse as it did, Kombouare made the three substitutions by introducing Hoarau, Jallet and Erdinç and things didn’t go too badly for him.
Thus, with a score of 2-2, we reached the last ten minutes of regulation time where everything got twisted. First one of the assistants that stand behind the goal was able to change the referee’s opinion with regards to a hand by San Jose at the edge of the area, and it became a penalty, but Nené wasted the opportunity in the 84. Nevertheless, a minute later Iñigo Perez introduced in his own goal a cross by Erdinç while trying to clear it to corner. Three to two!
After Galarreta’s debut the ordeal didn’t end, since in another decision with external advice, the referee called a penalty on Iturraspe for bringing down Nené. Hoarau scored the fourth, even though Raul continued his good work after seizing a very dangerous short shot by Pastore with regulation time already fulfilled.
In the end, a bitter taste for both teams. For our Athletic Club because without a doubt it has deserved better luck on the scoreboard and for the hosts because the victory did not allow them to continue in the competition, which is scheduled to hold the draw for the next round on Friday, the 16th, in Nyon. For us, well we still have one last effort left to close the year positively before the visits of Zaragoza in Liga on Saturday at 20:00h and Real Oviedo in Copa on Wednesday, the 21st at 22:00h. At least, in spite of the defeat, the impression given is that the team still has what it takes, past the names and surnames; that is what is important with still so many challenges ahead.