After a 1-1 draw against Dinamo Bucuresti on Thursday, Athletic Club had to get back into preseason mode when they took on Reus in a friendly on Saturday. Kuko Ziganda left out most of his major players from the Europa League clash, but was still able to field a very strong team. Goals from Mikel San Jose, Ager Aketxe, and Iñaki Williams lifted the Lions to a big 3-0 win which will continue to build confidence going into the second leg against Dinamo.
From the very beginning of the game it was clear that Athletic Club was in complete control. The Basques dominated possession, as well as chances, and made things very difficult for their visitors. It was not all good news though as Ander Iturraspe had to leave the game after only a few minutes of action. He stretched out his left leg to deflect a shot and was quickly seen grabbing his hamstring. The midfielder asked for a substitute and was changed for Mikel Rico.
Thirty minutes passes without any goals, but Athletic would soon change that. The Lions earned a corner kick and Ager Aketxe stepped up to take. The midfielder whipped in a cross that found Mikel San Jose who directed the ball past the keeper for a much-deserved 1-0 lead. Halftime came soon afterwards and Athletic was far from finished. Iñaki Williams was brought on to start the second half and immediately turned up the pressure as soon as he touched the ball.
The onslaught continued and Athletic eventually earned a corner kick. Ager Aketxe stepped up and put his shot into the back of the net to double the lead. From there it was clear that the Lions were going to cruise to a fairly uncontested victory, but they had one more goal coming from Iñaki Williams who beat the keeper to make it 3-0. Ziganda brought on youngsters Jon Sillero and Aitor Seguin to help close out the game and Reus was never able to prevent the clean sheet.
It was a very complete performance from Athletic Club with almost everyone playing at a very high level. Aketxe and Inigo Cordoba were the stars of the show, with Unai Nunez and Mikel San Jose also having nice showings. Aketxe provided an assist and a goal, but Cordoba was arguably the most influential player on the pitch. Iñaki Williams was also extremely dangerous in the second half which kept Reus on their toes. In the end, it was a deserved 3-0 victory for Athletic who will now turn their attentions to Dinamo Bucuresti who will come to the San Mames on Thursday for the second leg of the Europa League qualifier.