The lions ease to victory over Levante UD, with goals from Berenguer and Williams
Athletic Club are back to winning ways after beating Levante 2-0 at San Mamés. The goals came from winger Alex Berenguer, who was making his home debut, and striker Iñaki Williams. It was a complete performance by Athletic, goalkeeper Unai Simón barely having to make a save.
The match started with a minute’s silence in honour of ex-Lezama graduate and current Levante keeper Aitor Fernandez’s father, who passed away recently.
Athletic came flying out of the blocks when play began, determined to put on a good show in what was only their second home fixture of the 2020-21 LaLiga season. The lions gave the visitors no time to rest, pressing and pestering them at every moment.
From the beginning, it was obvious that Williams especially had the bit between his teeth. With ten minutes gone, the striker sent in a low cross that Muniain would have converted if Levante defender Malsa had not been well-placed to stop the ball on the line.
Once again, VAR took centre stage and was heavily involved throughout the match. The first intervention came when a penalty given for a foul on left-back Mikel Balenziaga in the box was overturned.
Nonetheless, Athletic kept plugging away. Muniain had another effort blocked, this time by Ruben Vezo. Then a pass from the back by defender Iñigo Martinez put Berenguer through on goal but the winger’s shot was well saved.
After the break, Athletic Club came out even better. Iñigo got a big header from a corner but it went wide and in the 50th minute attacking-midfielder Raul García went even closer, hitting the crossbar after getting on the end of a sublime Williams cross.
Gaizka Garitano was getting ready to bring on Oier Zarraga and Jon Morcillo when Athletic got their first goal. Berenguer beat the offside trap to collect midfielder Dani Garcia’s through-ball before finishing nicely with his left foot. A first Athletic goal in his home debut for the recently-signed winger.
Now Athletic were in full flow and with the kids on the pitch. Zarraga looked coming on as a sub in the 70th minute to make his official debut. The central-midfielder has been at Athletic since he was a 10-year old.
It did not take long until Athletic threatened again, Berenguer almost got a second but his goal was ruled out after VAR deemed Raul Garcia to be offside during the build-up play.
Left-winger, Morcillo, recently brought on for Muniain set up the second goal. In the 79th minute, Athletic’s newest no.2 sent in a great pass for Williams at the far post and the striker duly hit the back of the net.
Williams could have bragged a brace not much later, but failed to score when through one-on-one with Levante’s keeper.
Athletic finished the game with Unai Vencedor, Zarraga, Morcillo and Villalibre on the pitch. A resounding endorsement of the work done at the Lezama academy.