Raúl García’s header sinks Deportivo Alavés on the night Iñaki broke the LaLiga record for consecutive games
It was Iñaki Williams‘ night and Athletic could not fail. This was the big game, what’s more a derby against Deportivo Alavés, in which the Athletic forward made his 203rd LaLiga appearance and broke Juan Antonio Larrañaga’s long-standing record.
The only goal of the night came in the 44th minute. And San Mamés, with close to 30,000 spectators, roared like old. The strike came from a well-worked short corner. Iñigo Lekue picked up the ball on the edge of the area and sent it in for Raúl García, who scored with a header at the far post.
Raúl García redeemed himself for the penalty he had saved by Fernando Pacheco in the seventh minute. The spot-kick was awarded after the referee went to VAR and decided Ximo Navarro had handballed Dani Vivian‘s header in the box.
Athletic were patient enough to dismantle a Deportivo Alavés side whose lack of points has led them to change their style. Playing with a back three, Alavés seemed to be waiting for Athletic to make a mistake, but it did not come.
Iñigo Martínez and Vivian, two giants at corners, could have made it 1-0 with respective headers early on. Iker Muniain also went close, but could not quite get the better of Pacheco after getting a head on Lekue’s floated cross.
Alavés, who barely threatened in attack in the first half, brought on Joselu. But Marcelino’s side’s defensive discipline was enough to help close out the match and see the Lions win all three points.
Iñaki Williams looked to round off his night with a goal. But with both of his best chances, two left-footed strikes, Pacheco and Matt Miazga got in the way.
There was some apprehension about letting all three points escape at the end, but only Facundo Pellistri managed to send a shot in Unai Simón’s direction.
A first win in the first derby of the season and now we wait three weeks for our next fixture after the match scheduled to take place against Real Madrid was postponed.