Villalibre and Berenguer score at opposite ends of the clock for Athletic
Athletic Club beat Granada 2-1 at San Mamés thanks to a 91st-minute strike by winger Alex Berenguer, who now has five goals in his last five matches.
It was a hard-fought, but well-deserved win in which the more fringe players stood up and made themselves count. Asier Villalibre opened the scoring early on with a second-minute goal and Berenguer saw Athletic to victory just as it seemed the Lions were destined to draw 1-1 yet again.
Marcelino’s side now sit in eighth place, with European spots in sight. After the physical and mental battering Athletic took in Thursday’s Copa semi-final, the Gaffer ringed the changes, making nine changes to the starting XI.
The match could not have started better. Great link-up play between Oihan Sancet and Asier Villalibre up front led to the latter turning his defender in the box and firing a low shot past Granada keeper Rui Silva.
In the 21st minute, left-back Iñigo Lekue drove into space in the middle of the park before sending a long-range effort straight into Silva’s hands.
Centre-back Yeray Alvaréz was brought on for counterpart Unai Nuñez at half-time. Athletic could have gone 2-0 with Villalibre going close from a counter-attack.
Athletic had their best chance to double their lead when the referee whistled for a penalty after Kenedy fouled Unai Vencedor in the box. Unfortunately, Rui Silva guessed right to deny substitute Raúl García.
Granada equalised against the run of play in the 78th minute. Antonio Puertas crossing for Jorge Molina to score a header.
The Rojiblancos kept going and Berenguer, who was brought on in the 84th minute, got the winning goal with a sensational left-footed effort.
It was great performance for Marcelino’s lads, three points in the bag and the Lions will go to Atlético on Wednesday full of confidence.