Williams and Yuri reduced the three-goal advantage given to the hosts by Joaquín’s hat-trick
Athletic Club lost 3-2 against a Real Betis who clinched the victory thanks to a great start on the pitch and their flawless effectiveness. Williams, from a penalty-kick, and Yuri, with a powerful shot, shortened the difference.
The Red and Whites found it hard to get into the rhythm of the game at Benito Villamarín and Real Betis had no mercy after three fast runs in the first twenty minutes, when their captain Joaquín scored a hat-trick. They felt like ‘three stabs’, three fast-paced plays that took the Red and Whites by surprise and the Andalusian forward did not miss. From then on, the control of the game was equal for both teams and Athletic tried to narrow the goal gap with all their might.
They finally managed to score just before the break after a clear handball by Alex Moreno in the box. Iñaki Williams took the penalty-kick sending the ball inside the left post (3-1). Until then, Athletic had not had any clear chances, but had made goalkeeper Joel feel uncomfortable with several assists from both flanks, none of them finding Williams’ connection. Betis had also had a clear chance, with a three-nil on the scoreboard, when Guardado’s shot was saved by Unai Simón.
In the second half, the Green and Whites entered the pitch with plenty of energy, creating the first opportunity, but Athletic were gaining ground as the minutes ticked by. During the interval, Gaizka Garitano replaced Córdoba by Unai Núñez, who took his place in the defence between Yeray and Iñigo Martínez. Some time later, on about 70 minutes, Mikel San José substituted Oihan Sancet, in order to try to find a second goal that would get the red-and-white side back into the game.
Yuri powered in a shot from outside the area when it looked like the 3-1 score was not going to change. It was a great goal, with sixteen minutes to go, that gave Athletic strength and hope to get something positive from the match. Bringing on Larrazabal for Capa was the last change made by Garitano in a final effort to get an equaliser that, unfortunately, did not arrive.