FC Lokomotiv Moskva VS Athletic Club 2/16/2012 | Athletic Club’s Official Website

FC Lokomotiv Moskva2 : 1Athletic Club

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Date and time
2/16/2012 - 6:00 PM

It’s Anyone’s Match in the Second Round in San Mamés

FC Lokomotiv 2-Athletic Club 1 Athletic Club lost 2-1 against Lokomotiv Moscow in the first…

Feb 16, 2012

FC Lokomotiv 2-Athletic Club 1

Athletic Club lost 2-1 against Lokomotiv Moscow in the first leg of the UEL Round of 32. Muniain gave our team the lead in the first half, but in the second half Glushakov, from the penalty spot, and Caicedo put the Russians ahead in the tie. In other words, the tie will be settled next Thursday in San Mamés and, although the development of events leaves us with a bitter aftertaste, the fact of scoring away from home means that our chances of qualifying for the round of 16 remain intact.

Neither Aurtenetxe nor Maicon will be in the decisive match, having been shown their third yellow card of the competition, although the Lokomotiv player deserved to leave the field during the first half for a double caution after a hard tackle on Amorebieta.

As expected, the snow and especially the cold weather had a starring role in store before the match got underway. However, given the excellent performance of the artificial turf and the pampering with which it was treated during the warm-up and even at half-time, we can conclude that the factor that most affected the match was the bipolar behaviour of our team.

To begin with, after a few hesitant minutes of adaptation to the new snowy surface, Athletic Club were the masters of the game until half-time, despite some local attacks in the final stretch, so that the 0-1 lead at half-time seemed a little short. The ball came out from the back with head and sense. After an eighth minute Maicon’s diving challenge earned him a yellow card, in the tenth minute Athletic produced one of those moves that was worth paying to travel to the cozy Luzhniki Stadium for. It was a pity that the culmination of it could not have had a decent header from Llorente from Susaeta’s cross.

The right winger had been on fire since the warm-up exercises and in the 14th minute he made Guilherme look his best for the first time. That and other moves made it clear that Lokomotiv are a team with innate counter-attacking qualities, something that was accentuated in the second half, especially with the score in their favour and which we will surely see in San Mamés.

De Marcos shot in the 18th minute for Guilherme to send for a corner, whose shot was headed in by Amorebieta, much to the delight of the goalkeeper. Then, in the 23rd minute, Iraola tried a difficult volley that went high. Tarasov then added a little pause with a long-range shot that was blocked by Iraizoz and pushed away by Amorebieta, a classic on a Moscow night. And soon after, the first of the night arrived. In a dizzying counter Susaeta got rid of a couple of opponents, raised his head and instead of shooting, he passed to Muniain who, from the heart of the box, put our team ahead. Athletic played calmly in the following minutes with chances for Llorente, high in the 41st minute and De Marcos’ shot in the 43rd minute, cleared for a corner by Guilherme.

On the other hand, Lokomotiv ended the first half close to Iraizoz’s goal, as in the 44th minute Maicon’s shot was blocked by Amorebieta. With Caicedo in charge of shooting and Iraizoz and Amorebieta in the same roles as before, it was time for the break. The feeling was hugely positive.

Unfortunately, they were unable to produce a better result. With no changes in the line-up, the Russians returned with a similar spirit, but Athletic Club did not. Our players, without much more pressure than at the start of the match, began a succession of lost balls in hot zones, which condemned them to not going forward or back with a palpable loss of control of the match. It could be said that they were frozen, but that would be too much of a cliché.

Although they had only had one shot from Zapater saved by Iraizoz, the hosts began to grow, especially after the harsh penalty given to Aurtenetxe. In the 59th minute, Caicedo, who was already looking for the maximum penalty at the minimum, and when the ball was going fast and fast out, felt Aurtenetxe’s tackle and the assistant did the rest. Glushakov equalised from eleven yards. It was a pity, both for the equaliser itself and because Susaeta had stolen the ball from the home keeper in the play immediately before, but was unable to finish the trick.

With the goal, Lokomotiv got right back into the game, while their opponents did not recognise themselves. Glushakov again tested Iraizoz from distance in the 67th minute and four minutes later a cross from the left was not cleared by Amorebieta and ended up first at the feet of Caicedo and then in the net.

In a different situation, Athletic continued to look like a different team and Lokomotiv grew in stature. Maicon had his chance in the 76th minute when he shot low and wide. David López replaced Aurtenetxe and De Marcos moved to left-back. Athletic were still not as expected and our absence was taken advantage of by full-back Yanbaev, who made Iraizoz look good in the 81st minute and shot wide in the 85th. However, as long as Athletic were in the game, anything could happen and, in fact, they were gradually occupying the opposition’s half.

There was not much time left, but they had chances to equalise in the 87th minute with a chance that was both clear and twofold. First Llorente picked up a rebound in the box, but instead of breaking away he could only place the ball, his shot being intercepted by Guilherme’s foot. The rebound fell to Muniain, who connected with a spectacular bicycle kick, but it was the home keeper’s night, closed down with a yellow for time wasting. David López also shot narrowly wide in the 89th minute.

We have no choice but to wait until Thursday and, of course, as well as playing a full match, we can count on the heat of San Mamés, which will be very tight in the stands, of course, and the heat, or less cold, in the thermometers to play with a more “normal” temperature to avoid excuses and the risk of playing in extreme conditions, i.e. the atmosphere in La Catedral will be almost nothing like the 13,000 brave players who have gathered at the Luzhniki Stadium. In short, it is a question of getting through the third round of a European knockout stage for the first time in the new century