Three goals in which the player from Navarra intervenes take down Espanyol and bring back the optimism to San Mamés
It was the perfect night. A 3-0 thrashing over Espanyol that manages to break the bad streak, bringing the optimism and faith back to San Mamés. Muniain, who scored a brace and was involved in the third goal, the hosts’ own goal, led Athletic to a victory that places the side three points from Europe, position that is now occupied by Real Sociedad.
The lions were very focused from the very moment they entered the pitch. By the 16th minute, they were already 2-0 ahead thanks to a brace from Muniain. The first goal arrived when Captain Raúl García was quick to send a tight ball into the net after a nice play.
Gaizka Garitano surprised Machín by assigning the player from Navarra an attacking midfielder player position, moving Raúl García to the number 9 spot and sending Williams to the wing. It was Iker who scored a superb goal from outside the box after connecting a volley that inexorably made it past Diego López.
Espanyol, stunned at the beginning, did not lose heart and also created their opportunities to reduce the goal difference in the first half. First, Bernardo was denied a headed goal for a clear offside, and later, Unai Simón made the best save of the match when he flawlessly dived to stop a header from David López. The save resembled one of Oblak’s interventions.
The Red and Whites had a good counter-attacking opportunity to make it 3-0 after the break. It was a play led by Muniain, where a ball was crossed by Raúl García and fired to the back post by Córdoba, but Diego López gathered it. Garitano brought on San José in place of Unai López to give consistency to the midfield.
Athletic started getting more and more dangerous and Espanyol gave in. The 3-0 came after a free kick taken by Iñigo Martínez, the ball was sent to Capa, Cordoba assisted it and Muniain, coming firmly from an advanced midfield position, forced Víctor Gomez to score an own goal, beating Diego López. It was Iker’s night and when he left the pitch, he did it to a standing ovation, matched only by the one received in the Cup in the game against Celta. The hosts had only one chance, in which Unai Simón won the ball in a one-on-one duel with Wu Lei.