Diego López prevented the Lions from picking up all three points in Cornellà
Athletic Club drew 1-1 against RCD Espanyol on Tuesday night. It was a game the Lions deserved to win, and if it was not for some excellent saves by Espanyol’s Diego López, they would be coming home with three points.
It was Iñaki Williams, jeered by some who still haven’t learned their lessons about racism, who rescued a point for Athletic with a second-half goal.
It was a night of setbacks for Los Rojiblancos. First, Iñigo Martínez was taken out of the starting XI before the warm-up due to stomach problems and then his replacement Dani Vivian went off injured. Yeray returned to the back line and was impressive.
The first big chance came in the 14th minute when Oihan Sancet stole a ball and shot at Diego López. Iker Muniain followed up with a rebound, but his effort was blocked on the line by Leandro Cabrera.
The López show truly began in the 23rd minute with a great save from a Sancet volley. Ten minutes later, Espanyol took the lead, referee Ortiz Arias pointed to the spot for a debatable handball by Mikel Vesga in the box. Raúl de Tomás made no mistake from the spot.
A nice-one two between Nico Williams and Iker Muniain saw Athletic go close to equalising just before the break, but the captain’s shot went straight into López’s arms.
Athletic were spectacular in the second half. De Tomas hit the post in what was the home team’s last meaningful chance of the encounter, and after that the Lions went gunning for an equaliser.
Iñigo Lekue‘s determination and skill led him to set up Iñaki Williams for the leveller. The full-back won the ball back before rushing to the byline and playing it across goal for the striker to tap in.
Athletic had several opportunities to take the lead, but could not make any of them count. Unai Vencedor‘s shot brushed the post. Muniain twice went close, the first drawing a great save Diego López.
Then in the 87th minute, Alex Berenguer, played through by Iñaki after a quick counter, should have killed the match with the goal Athletic deserved, but once again López was there to deny the Lions.
It was not to be. But Athletic can take some positives from the performances as they look ahead to Sunday’s upcoming derby against Real Sociedad in San Sebastian.