Athletic overturned a one-goal deficit to stage a comeback in the last 15 minutes and beat Sevilla 2-1 thanks to subs Muniain and Sancet
Athletic Club beat Sevilla FC 2-1 at San Mamés thanks to a late fightback. Iker Muniain got the first goal in the 75th minute with a great finish at the back post from a corner. And super sub Oihan Sancet delivered the killer blow with his first touch of the ball in the 86th minute.
The win was a reward for Athletic’s belief, doggedness and the smart decisions made by manager Gaizka Garitano on the bench. Both goalscorers came off the bench and midfielders Unai López and Mikel Vesga also came on and had an impact. Striker Asier Villalibre, who also started on the bench, was a real handful for Sevilla’s centre-backs when he was brought on.
The game became an uphill battle early on, Sevilla forward En Nesyri caught the lions cold in the ninth minute, scoring with a left-footed shot the box. It was the worst possible start for Athletic.
Garitano had put his faith in youth. Central midfielder Oier Zarraga got his first start in the red-and-white shirt, while Jon Morcillo started on the left wing.
Zarraga even had a chance to score but struck the ball wide when he got on the end of Alex Berenguer’s cross. Meanwhile Morcillo was always looking to find a target with his deliveries from the flank.
But the lions barely troubled Sevilla’s goalkeeper Bono in the first half, the biggest chance of note was a Raul Garcia header that missed the target.
The best thing Athletic did was to stay alive during the match’s most delicate moments, they stuck to their guns in defence when there seemed to be no way to penetrate the Sevillian wall. In fact, Iñigo Martinez did brilliantly to stop En-Nesyri’s 49th- minute header from crossing the line.
Then Garitano made changes, giving Athletic a freshness of ideas and renewed energy. Now the lions began to move the ball around with more purpose and determination.
First Dani Garcia got a free header from a corner, and then the prize came from another corner kick. Morcillo swung it in, Vesga nodded it on to the back post and Muniain tucked the ball into the net.
From here onwards, Athletic had the bit between their teeth, the lions wouldn’t let up and were constantly seeking the winning goal.
Captain Muniain split the defence with through-ball, connected with Iñaki Williams and then Iñaki sent a sublime cross to the far post which found Oihan Sancet. The youngster was unforgiving and finished off a well-deserved comeback against the Europa League champions, who had not conceded two goals in 90 minutes since playing Villarreal in March. A sign of what it takes to score a goal against this team.