Athletic Club 4 – Albacete 0 Athletic Club defeated Albacete Balompié by 4-0 with goals…
Athletic Club 4 – Albacete 0
Athletic Club defeated Albacete Balompié by 4-0 with goals by Susaeta, Herrera, Toquero and San Jose and, thanks to them; we’ve qualified for the quarterfinals in which they will play against RCD Mallorca in the course of the next two weeks. It was a well deserved victory in La Copa Del Rey in which Athletic hasn’t received a single goal from any of the other teams that they have played.
Our players didn’t leave any room for surprises from the moment of the initial blow of the whistle, and made every best effort to defeat Albacete Balonpié, a rival with a more than decent reputation. They were a tough team to beat. Fernando Llorente tried to score very early in the game, but Albacete’s goalkeeper Campos blocked Llorente’s header. Today, Fernando Llorente began with first-string players. Athletic’s right wing offense was very active during the entire game…Iraola, Susaeta and De Marcos were able to create opportunities to score goals.
The Castilians wanted to cut off the lifeline provided by the left to Muniain, but in doing so, they left the right side open for Athletic to attack. Nevertheless, the Manchego pressure in the first few minutes of the match overwhelmed our boys, and consequently, they were able to keep Athletic under control. Again, from the right side, Susaeta passed the ball to Llorente and Llorente’s shot was stopped by Campos.
Albacete had serious difficulties controlling and passing the ball. Most of its goalkeeper’s passes were taken over by our players, which resulted in advancing Albacete’s defence line. The first shot to the net from Albacete came during the first 16 minutes of the game. Torres’ shot was blocked by Iraizoz. Athletic kept attacking, and it was obvious that if a team had to score first, bar none if it would have been Athletic. Iraola passed the ball with the intent of provoking some danger to the opposite net in the 21st minute. In the 22nd minute of the game Llorente sent a header outside and two minutes later came the goal which left the road clear for Athletic…..a beautiful play that started in the centre of the field where Muniain sent a phenomenal pass to Susaeta and Susaeta softly tapped the ball high out of the reach of Campos.
Albacete’s player Santamaria was forced to leave the game due to an injury. Santamaria was part of Athletic’s Fútbol School and the fans in San Mamés applauded for the injured player. Herreros substituted him. Athletic and their fans wanted a second goal because they knew that they squeaked by the win in Albacete. In the 36th minute, Llorente sent a head shot out from the top of the net. In the 37th, Llorente almost scored after the goalie’s ball struck Llorente’s foot. Albacete suffered a lot before the end of the first half.
After the first half, Albacete returned to the field more relaxed knowing that if they scored a goal, they could tie the game and pass to the quarterfinals. Candela tried to score from far away, but it was obvious that Athletic didn’t want any surprises. Marcelo Bielsa commented in the press conference the evening before the game that he didn’t like to speculate.
In the 50th minute, De Marcos deployed a shot and Campos blocked it….it was a beautiful play by Susaeta. Minutes later, Albacete’s coach, Aranalde, replaced David Torres with Curto, an offensive player. But shortly after, Curro was forced to leave the field, most likely due to the injury sustained in a prior game, leaving Albacete without much room to manoeuvre. In any case, Albacete fought tooth and nail to the very end.
San José tried to score in the 55th minute with a head shot but the ball went out. Muniain also attempted likewise, but without any success. Calle complained that he was grabbed from behind and asked the referee for a penalty, but the referee didn’t see it. Even if there was an infraction, it wouldn’t be considered a penalty because he was held outside the goal area. A short time later in the 64th minute, Athletic scored the second goal and extinguished all Albacete’s hopes to pass to the next round.
On this occasion, a well-coordinated play gave Susaeta an opportunity to get closer to the net and passed to Muniain. Muniain walloped the ball but Campos made a great save. In the second opportunity, Albacete’s defence blocked the attack and in the third chance, Herrera, with a spectacular volley, scored the second goal of the game. The second goal knocked down Albacete Balompié.
After the second goal, Toquero entered the field substituting for Fernando Llorente and Curto was replaced with Nuñez, a player who created the most dangerous shot in the wild card elimination match for Albacete. Iraizoz responded with a good save. After that, Athletic continued charging ahead with more open space in the field. Susaeta had a chance to score the third goal, but Campos was able to predict exactly what Susaeta would do and drove the ball away. Nevertheless, another attack ensued on the part of Iraola from the right side, and permitted Toquero to recreate his first intent at scoring a goal by virtue of his heel. Toquero scored the third goal in the 77th. As it happens so many times in the media, the name of the superstar player bears more weight than the regular Joe when it comes to scoring goals.
Javi Martinez and Herrera were substituted by Ekiza and Iñigo Perez, respectively. In the 86th minute of the game, strategy was the key to scoring the fourth goal. Iñigo Perez passed the ball from the corner and San José scored. It was an important victory that fuels the fire for future games in this competition.
Even then Athletic never gave up. Muniain had the opportunity to make it all happen, but his soft touch over the goalie’s head soared outside. Toquero also had another chance to score but he , all alone in front of the goalkeeper, kicked the ball outside in the 89th minute. In any case, it was sufficient for the win and did not deplete the arsenal for the next game against Caparros’ team. Prior to them, Fourth place Levante UD, will play in Bilbao and this will be a prime opportunity to reduce Levante’s advantage in the Liga…the Copa can wait a bit.