Athletic Club defeat Celta thanks to a goal by Iñaki, who had another goal disallowed, and a solid defensive performance
Athletic Club beat RC Celta 0-1 at Balaídos on Saturday afternoon. The Lions head into the international break with a well-deserved win that reinforces the good mood created over a successful summer.
Marcelino’s men sealed the win when striker Iñaki Williams finished off a rapid counter-attack, but could well have increased their lead in the second half, when a second effort by Williams was disallowed for a foul by Alex Berenguer in the build-up.
There were many positives for Athletic to take from the match. Above all, a great defensive performance led by centre-back Iñigo Martínez which allowed Unai Simón to enjoy a pleasant comeback after his time at the Euros and the Olympics. The shotstopper barely had to make a save all evening.
The match, with 5,492 spectators in the stands at Balaídos, kicked off with Denis Suárez elbowing Unai Vencedor in the face, and the former avoiding punishment.
Athletic struggled to retain possession early on, but their pressing made Celta uncomfortable. Iago Aspas went close with what was Celta’s only big chance of the match.
The connection up front between Oihan Sancet and Williams continues to blossom. It was first Iñaki who set up Sancet for Athletic’s first chance of the game, but his left-footed shot went wide. Five minutes later, in the 33rd minute, the two combined to make it 0-1.
Sancet hassled Joseph Aidoo, stole the ball off the defender and teed up Williams to beat Matias Dituro with a close-range effort. The striker got the goal his great start to the season deserved. A goal worth three points.
Athletic were much better after the break. In the 49th minute, they thought they doubled their lead, but the goal was disallowed.
Berenguer shook off Denis Suárez after noticing that the Celta player was grabbing his arm, skipped past Javi Galán and found Iñaki with a great pass across goal. The Panther slotted home. The referee awarded the goal, but after consulting with VAR, he ruled it out on the spot.
The Lions went all out for a second. Iñaki had another chance to make it 0-2, but he couldn’t connect with Raúl García‘s cross properly and sent the ball over. Ten minutes later, Asier Villalibre was played through on goal by the very lively Nico Williams, but failed to get the better of Dituro.
In the end it did not matter, Athletic saw out the seven minutes of injury time without incident and bring back three points to Bilbao.
It’s time to catch our breath and prepare well in order to beat the undefeated Mallorca at San Mamés.