Raul Garcia and Muniain, with a penalty, scored to help the Lions thrill San Mamés as they beat Villarreal 2-1
Athletic Club have notched their second LaLiga win of the season, both at home, by beating Villarreal CF 2-1 in Bilbao. The visitors simply could not handle the Lions on the night in which San Mamés went back to full capacity.
The 38,698 spectators were treated to an entertaining match full of emotion and heart. Raúl García, after a magnificent team move, and Iker Muniain, from the penalty spot, led Athletic to victory over Unai Emery’s side. All that was missing was the icing on the cake, as Alex Berenguer had a penalty saved by Gerónimo Rulli late on.
Marcelino has put together a team full of courage and determination. The manager was on top form as he revelled in the atmosphere of a San Mamés close to maximum capacity.
The Lions came crashing out the gates. Gerard Moreno was the first to have a go, but Los Rojiblancos did not take long to find their feet. In the 11th minute, a great move between Iñaki Williams and Iker Muniain ended with the former hitting the crossbar.
Two minutes later, Mikel Balenziaga, Muniain and Williams connected before the Panther whipped in a low cross for Raúl García to tuck away.
Centre-back Iñigo Martínez almost made it 2-0 with a header from Muniain’s corner. However, the Yellow Submarine equalised just after the half-hour mark when Francis Coquelin capitalised on a dangerous run by Arnaut Danjuma.
At points, Athletic were forced onto the back foot. Their biggest scare came early in the second half when Unai Simón made a great save from an effort by Danjuma.
Iñigo Lekue, impressive at right-back again, forced Rulli into action at the other end with a volley from outside the box. Athletic took things up a gear and soon found their breakthrough. With 15 minutes left, the home team was awarded a penalty after VAR spotted Alberto Moreno’s foul on Unai Vencedor in the box.
Muniain capped off a tremendous performance by stepping up and converting the penalty, sending Rulli the wrong way as he slotted the ball in the bottom left corner.
Athletic could have killed the match in the 82nd minute after Muniain was brought down in the box by Pervis Estupiñán. Berenguer took responsibility, but this time Rulli guessed right.
With the vociferous San Mamés crowd behind them, Athletic held on to take home all three points.