A strong defensive performance, a penalty by Raúl García and Muniain turned San Mamés into a fortress in the derby against Alavés
Athletic Club is still unbeatable at San Mamés. Three wins in three games, five goals scored and none conceded. In the second derby of the season they have comfortably beaten Deportivo Alavés (2-0), with goals from Raúl García and Muniain. For now, they are the virtual leaders of the league, waiting for the result of the match between Sevilla and Real Madrid. If they end up with a draw, the Red and Whites will be leaders when they visit Leganés on Wednesday.
Gaizka Garitano’s players executed the game plan to perfection. It was an exhibition of attitude and tactical sense. The lions had enough patience to breach the impenetrable wall of the Alava side. Williams’ speed on Ely’s back gave him a yellow card. It was not about running too much, but about waiting for the right occasion to attack down the flanks. Capa threatened the visitor’s goal in one occasion and in a second one, from behind Alavés wingers, the Red and Whites hunted the piece.
After consulting VAR and watching the action on the monitor, Gil Manzano awarded Williams a penalty after Duarte had brought him to ground. Raul Garcia did not have mercy and gave the hosts a 1-0 lead with eight minutes to go before the break.
Alavés took a hesitant step at the beginning of the second half, but Athletic had the chance to kill off any hope with two scoring chances on 64 and 65 minutes. Muniain sent the ball towards the right-hand post where it was headed by Raúl García, and Williams hurled a missile to the left corner of Pacheco’s goal.
And the awaited 2-0 arrived thanks to Muniain, throwing himself to a ball that had been previously shot by Ibai and repelled by Pacheco with enormous difficulty. From there on, the team took absolute control and Lekue happily made his comeback on the pitch.
Athletic Club: Simón; Capa, Yeray, Iñigo Martínez, Yuri; Dani García, Unai López; Muniain, Raúl García, Ibai; and Williams.
Changes: Beñat by Unai López (62′), Lekue by Muniain (81′) and Aduriz by Williams (83′)
Deportivo Alavés: Pacheco; Ximo Navarro, Laguardia, Ely, Duarte; Pina, Manu García, Wakaso; Aleix Vidal, Joselu and Luis Rioja.
Changes: Lucas Pérez by Manu García (54′), Martín Agirregabiria by Ely (62′) and Pere Pons by Pina (81′).
1-0 M. 37. Raúl García (p.)
2-0 M. 73. Muniain
Referee: Gil Manzano (Extremadura). He booked Ely (7′), Aleix Vidal (15′), Duarte (36′), Laguardia (70′) and Simón (85′).
Stadium: San Mamés 45,143 spectators. Toquero was paid tribute before the game, after retiring from football, for his time with the red-and-white team. He was given a Lehendakari’s makila by Athletic captain Iker Muniain.