Alex Berenguer's goal made sure spirited fans at The Cathedral saw their first win of the season, with victory over a tough Valencia side
A decent win 1-0 against a tricky Valencia CF side. In a match full of action, Alex Berenguer's strike just before half-time saw Athletic take all three points. No doubt the victory will be well celebrated by Bilbainos out partying for Aste Nagusia tonight.
With these fans and this determined team, Athletic Club will be a tough nut to crack at home this season. The new singing section, and the atmosphere created throughout the stadium, will play an important role in turning The Cathedral into a fortress. The process is underway. 43,417 spectators were in attendance today.
It was Berenguer who had the first big chance of the game, having a shot blocked by Giorgio Mamardashvili after going one-on-one with the Georgian keeper.
And it was the lively winger who put Athletic ahead in the 42nd minute, firing a low left-footed drive into the back of the net thanks to an Iñaki Williams interception high up the pitch. The goal came at the perfect moment, helping the Lions settle down after a relentless, end-to-end first 40 minutes.
Athletic twice went close to doubling their lead before the break. Iker Muniain and Iñaki set up a great counter-attack only for Oihan Sancet to be robbed of glory, while Williams had a goal disallowed for offside.
Valverde's men came out firing after after the restart. They controlled possession, read the game well and put Valencia under an immense amount of pressure as they looked for a second goal.
The entire stadium went crazy in the 80th minute when Nico Williams tucked away a cross from his brother, but it was also ruled out for offside.
Los Rojiblancos could have killed off the match with a couple of rapid counters, while Maxi Gómez threatened for Valencia and their Brazilian striker Marcos André narrowly missed in stoppage time.
The team stayed on the pitch to celebrate the victory with San Mamés after the final whistle. The Cathedral was at its majestic best this evening, starting with a beautiful tribute to Muniain who, joined by his children, received a small gift from Markel Susaeta and Jose Angel Iribar in recognition of having reached 500 appearances for the Club.
The Lions now have four points and zero goals conceded on the board. Next Monday, we travel down to Cádiz.