Saturday’s Basque Derby was not a happy occasions for Athletic Club fans. The Lions scored two own goals on the way to a 3-1 loss at the Anoeta that cannot be described in any other way than embarrassing. However, Athleticzales did have plenty to cheer about after the game as Bilbao Athletic cruised to a 8-0 win over Lealtad in what was their 11th consecutive victory at home. It was an absolutely stunning display from Gaizka Garitano’s side who showed once again that they are deadly serious about their quest for promotion to the Segunda.
Iñigo Vicente was espectacular once again. It took the 20-year-old a few months to find his footing after being promoted to Bilbao Athletic, but ever since Garitano began playing him as the attacking midfielder he has been golden. The switch has allowed for Vicente to showcase his vast repertoire of passing, movement, and scoring, while taking him away from being the target man has helped him overcome his lack of size which was a concern against stronger competition. The Lezama starlet scored the opening goal of the game by way of a beautiful chip over the keeper from a tight angle. He then added a second later in the game.
The win wasn’t all because of Vicente, however, with others such as Asier Benito (who also scored a brace), Iñigo Muñoz, Gorka Gururzeta, and Iker Undabarrena all playing big roles against Lealtad. Garitano’s team has built such a beautiful balance that many are now considering them as one of the best sides in all of Spain’s Segunda B and a favorite to earn promotion. Bilbao Athletic are proving every week to be an unbreakable wall in defense and deadly in attack with several players who can find the back of the net. The midfield ties it all together, especially with the return of Undabarrena, who provides the control, while Peru Nolaskoain is able to pull the strings of creativity.
With Saturday’s win the Katxorros now find themselves third in the table with 67 points and enjoying one of the best seasons in history. With only two games remaining this season, they control their own destiny. Next weekend they will travel to face Osasuna B who are currently set for relegation before finally ending the season at home against mid-table side Tudelano. As long as Garitano’s team is able to keep their spectacular run going they will enter the promotional playoff and have a serious shot at returning to Spain’s second division.