Athletic played their final game of the season at the San Mames on Sunday when they hosted challengers Leganes. The Lions were only able to earn a 1-1 draw which means their possible European qualification will not be decided until the last game of the season next weekend. Iker Muniain and Aritz Aduriz were in fine form as the Basques finished their season having only lost two matches at the San Mames in all competitions.
As has been the case recently, Athletic began the match in complete control. The midfield unit did well to control possession and dictate play. Benat was in fine form and creating chances, while Mikel San Jose snuffed out any chance that Leganes could make before it got too dangerous. In truth, Iker Muniain was the early star of the show as he was able to dribble past defenders and put the visitors into really chaotic situations.
Leganes struggled to deal with Athletic control pressure and would pay for it just fifteen minutes into the game. Muniain beat his defender and let the ball for a surging Mikel Balenziaga. The defender put in an effort that was met by Aduriz who was able to direct the ball into the back of the net. The Lions were up 1-0 early and looked ready to cruise to an easy victory over their opponents.
The first half continued with much of the same. Muniain continued to cause problems on the wing, while Leganes looked to counter attack. However, neither side was able to find another goal and the whistle soon sounded with the Lions holding on to their lead while the San Mames was roaring with praise. Fans kept checking their phones hoping to see that Real Sociedad were losing in their match.
Leganes made a quick change after the break but looked to keep up their counter attacking style. Athletic enjoyed nearly 60% possession, but their visitors became more and more dangerous with each break away. After an hour of action, Leganes would find their equalizer when the defense was chipped and Syzmanowski beat Kepa Arrizabalaga to make it 1-1.
At this point, Athletic knew how important it was to take the lead back. The really turned up the pressure and forced Leganes back into their own third. Still, it wasn’t enough as chances came and went, but the Basques were never able to pull back ahead. The final whistle blew with a final score of 1-1. For Leganes, the draw meant that they had earned their permanence in La Liga. For Athletic, the draw saw them stay level with Real Sociedad for sixth place in the league table. The Lions will have to decided their European fate during the last game of the season which will take place next weekend at the Vicente Calderon.
Athletic Club XI: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Oscar De Marcos, Yeray, Xabi Etxeita, Mikel Balenziaga (Inigo Lekue 87′), Mikel San Jose, Benat, Inaki Williams (Markel Susaeta 66′), Raul Garcia (Sabin Merino 79′), Iker Muniain, Aritz Aduriz