Athletic produced a stream of chances and won 1-4 with a great goal by Raúl García, a Villalibre brace and another from Williams
Athletic put on their goalscoring boots on Thursday evening, Ernesto Valverde’s side defeating Bochum 1-4 thanks to some decisive, attacking football.
Although Bochum took the lead early in the first half, Raúl García equalised with an exquisite lob, then in the final ten minutes Asier Villalibre with a brace and Iñaki Williams put the match beyond doubt. Apart from Yuri and Peru Nolskoain taking some heavy knocks, the latter being subbed off five minutes after coming on, the match went almost to perfection for Athletic.
The Lions came out firing in the first half, they kept the ball well and created clear chances, the only thing missing, initially, was a goal.
Striker Gorka Guruzeta had Athletic’s first effort of the afternoon, forcing a save from Bochum’s keeper with a low shot in the eighth minute. Not long after, Alex Berenguer was clear through on goal but couldn’t hit the target.
Adu almost chipped the keeper and Oscar Marcos, played through by Berenguer, missed another superb chance in front of goal.
Bochum took the lead against the run of play in the 58th minute via Simon Zoller, but it did not take long for the Lions to strike back, Raúl equalising with a cheeky chip just after the hour mark.
But the best was yet to come. In the final ten minutes, Los Rojiblancos took advantage of some tired legs in defence. First Villalibre finished past Esser after a fantastic through ball by debutant Luis Bilbao.
Iñaki Williams scored the Lions’ third two minutes later, cutting in from the right before slotting the ball under the Bochum keeper, and Villalibre settled matters in the 88th minute after once again finding himself free on goal.