Athletic Club officially began their season on Thursday when they drew 1-1 with Dinamo Bucuresti in Europa League play. Kuko Ziganda’s men took an early lead thanks to a header from Aymeric Laporte, but a wonder strike from Rivaldinho in the second half evened things up. The tie will not have to be decided at the San Mames next week and the Basques do have the ever-important away goal that may prove vital.
The first twenty minutes of action were relatively relaxed. Both sides looked comfortable getting a feel for the ball and not risking much going forward in attack. Athletic did control the majority of possession, while Dinamo spent large amounts of time in defense. From the very beginning Iker Muniain was putting on a show with his dribbling ability. The Romanians seemed to not have an answer for the winger and struggled to keep him from creating problems. However, Muniain would not be the one to break the deadlock.
In the 21st minute the Lions would finally find the elusive away goal when Beñat stepped up for a corner kick. The ball swung in to meet the head of Xabi Etxeita who put it on course for the back post. Aymeric Laporte was waiting there and nodded the ball past the keeper to give Athletic a 1-0 lead early in the first half. At that point it looked like the Basques would be able to coast to a victory on the road. Raul Garcia, Iker Muniain, and Aritz Aduriz all had great chances but were unable to find the back of the net.
The second half began by Dinamo making a very important change. Rivaldinho, son of Rivaldo, came into the game and immediately altered the atmosphere. His dribbling and pace provided very difficult for the Athletic midfield to handle. In the 53rd minute he would pull the Romanians level when he blasted a shot past Iago Herrerin from nearly 40 yards away. He stadium erupted and it then looked like it was going to be a long night for the Lions. Dinamo tightened up and started to take control of the game.
Athletic still enjoyed the bulk of possession, but every counter looked deadly from their hosts. Iker Muniain did his best to take the ball forward and continued to draw fouls, but Athletic were not able to do anything with them. The winger did have a great header on goal but a defender was able to clear the ball off the line. Eventually, the final whistle would sound with the two sides drawing 1-1. The tie will now be decided next week when Dinamo makes the trip to the formidable San Mames. It will be interesting to see what, if any, changes that Kuko Ziganda makes the team after the first game as Athletic Club manager.
Athletic Club XI: Iago Herrerin, Oscar De Marcos, Xabi Etxeita, Aymeric Laporte, Mikel Balenziaga, Beñat (Mikel Rico 81′), Mikel Vesga, Iker Muniain, Raúl Garcia (Sabin Merino 90′), Markel Susaeta (Inígo Lekue 67′), Aritz Aduriz