The lions were unleashed in a great first half with goals from the Williams brothers and Sancet against a team led by Iraola that did not give up
It was a thrilling night, one of those nights that make you love football. Pure rock and roll with the stands of San Mamés boiling over with chants, proud of Ernesto Valverde's Athletic. The 3-2 scoreline against Andoni Iraola's Rayo, another team of authors, was the result of a match that could have ended 6-4, with four goals disallowed, two per team.
Athletic, who sleep third behind only Real Madrid and Barcelona, forged their triumph in a spectacular first half, in which they threw open fire at their strikers. Rayo had started first, with Isi's warning to Simon well wide, before Camello produced his first big effort of the night to gift the ball to Trejo for the 1-0 lead.
The best thing was that the rojiblancos soon got up from the early blow. By the ninth minute, Sancet had already had a goal disallowed for offside by Iñigo Martínez. Five minutes later, the equaliser arrived. Dani García played a classy pass to Iñaki Williams, who controlled the ball well to beat Dimitrievski from close range.
Isi was still at his best and hit the crossbar, Camello beat Simon but was clearly offside... But the ambition of Iraola's team, leaving many metres at the back, was a blessing for Athletic. They scored twice before the break, on a masterpiece between Berenguer and Sancet, and on a forward pass from Yeray to Nico Wiliams, who celebrated his first San Mames goal in style. His brother's fourth, in the 35th minute, was disallowed for a millimetre offside.
There was still plenty of time left against an opponent who would not give up. Athletic twice had the chance to score through Muniain, but he was stopped by the Rayista goalkeeper. Camello was robbed of the glory of the goal in another goal disallowed by the VAR and Herrera came on for his debut, with San Mamés turned upside down. But Falcao, the lions' bête noire, was missing to create intrigue from the 80th minute. A superb 3-2 and jubilation. One can imagine the smile on the face of Joseba Larrondo, the member who died in a fatal accident after witnessing the defeat against Espanyol. The victory was a tribute on a par with the one paid to him by his family and friends just before the match. A night of great emotions.