Athletic Club 1-2 Atletico Madrid: Lions Suffer Rare Defeat At San Mamés
Athletic Club suffered their first defeat of the season at the San Mamés when they fell 2-0 to Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. A missed penalty from Aritz Aduriz in the first half could have seen the home side take an early lead, but the Lions were unable to capitalize on their chances. Despite a solid defensive performance for large stretches of the game, the Basques were unable to keep up the pressure and were eventually exposed by goals from Angel Correa and Yannick Carrasco.
Coming off of a disappointing defeat against Las Palmas, Athletic were looking to get back to their winning ways against Atletico Madrid on Wednesday. The game started with the Lions doing well to control possession and showing plenty of patience when taking the ball forward. The Basques would get their first shot of the game just eight minutes in when Iñigo Lekue tried a shot from distance, but Jan Oblak was able to make an easy save as Atletico slowly started to get more into the game.
Two minutes later Mikel San José found himself with the ball at his feet in the box with plenty of space. However, he was unable to get off a clean shot before the defense crowded him and were able to clear the chance. Diego Simeone’s men then went on the offensive with Antoine Griezmann getting two good looks at goal. One the defense did well to clear and the other was saved by Kepa. Moments later a bad pass from Unai Nuñez led to a break away for Angel Correa. The forward dribbled into the box and then struck the far post with his shot, which replay showed was saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga.
Just before the halftime whistle, Raúl García would be taken down on the line of the Atletico box and the referee quickly pointed to the penalty spot. Aritz Aduriz stepped up with the chance to put Athletic ahead but saw his shot miraculously saved by Oblak to keep the match scoreless. Eventually the whistle came with both sides locked in a defensive battle. Either team could have been ahead but it was the keeper who were stealing the show.
The second half started much the same with Athletic trying to control possession and Atletico Madrid happy to counter when given the chance. Someone’s side looked much more dangerous and would eventually get rewarded for their hard work. Koke was played into the box with a good chance at goal. Kepa left his line in an attempt to save the shot, but the midfield squared a pass to Correa who was able to finish into an empty net. Kuko Ziganda responded by immediately bringing on Iñaki Williams and Beñat.
While the two new players were trying to get their rhythm into the game, Atletico Madrid never let up. Not too much later it would be Yannick Carrasco who was able to double the lead when he beat Kepa to the bottom far post to put the visitors ahead 2-0. At that point it looked like the game was over and Ziganda responded by taking off Aritz Aduriz and bringing on Iñigo Córdoba. The Lions never stopped fighting, and were able to pull back a late goal in stoppage time when Raúl García struck a cross and sent the ball past Oblak. The Lions frantically tried to find the equalizer in the dying minutes, but it was too little too late as the referee sounded the final whistle on a 2-1 loss.
Athletic Club XI: Kepa Arrizabalaga, Iñigo Lekue, Unai Nuñez, Aymeric Laporte, Mikel Balenziaga, Ander Iturraspe (Beñat 53′), Mikel San José, Iker Muniain, Raúl García, Markel Susaeta (Iñaki Williams 53′), Aritz Aduriz (Iñigo Córdoba 80′)