Bilbao Athletic 1-3 Villarreal B: Cachorros In Need Of A Comeback In Second Leg
Bilbao Athletic began their pursuit for promotion on Sunday when the hosted Villarreal B at the San Mamés for the first leg of their matchup. It took both sides quite some time to get into a rhythm, especially considering the fact that they were playing at a much larger stadium that they are accustomed to. Bilbao Athletic tried to control possession in the midfield and attack down the wings, but the visitors weren’t afraid to take the ball right at defenders with Samu causing problems down the right side the entire match.
The Katxorros had several chances in the first half and looked especially strong in the final third. Iñigo Vicente nutmegged a defender and crossed the ball to Unai Bilbao who saw his header miraculously saved. A few minutes later a corner found Peru Nolaskoain at the far post but the midfielder was unable to get his shot on goal. As the halftime whistle approached Villarreal B would break the deadlock. Unai Simón saved a good shot and the rebound forced him to make another great save. However, the second rebound fell to Dalmau who easily put the visitors ahead.
After the break Gaizka Garitano’s men were clearly looking for a quick equalizer as they began to take more risks and pushed higher up the field. After only a few minutes Villarreal would make them pay when Samu dribbled through three defenders on a counter attack and tucked the ball into the far corner to double the lead. The Katxorros really turned up the pressure at this point and several times it looked like they would pull a goal back. Gorka Guruzeta split the defense with a nice pass that found Asier Benito surging into the box. The striker whipped a cross to Gaizka Larrazabal who was waiting at the far post but he was unable to direct the ball on goal.
After 70 minutes the home side would get another good look at goal when Jon Sillero found Benito in the box for an unmarked header, but the striker’s effort was just wide of the post. Villarreal would add a third goal in the 79th minute when Raba beat Simón and at that point the game looked over. However, the Katxorros did not quite and earned a penalty close to final time. Guruzeta stepped up and calmly beat the keeper to make it 3-1 which ended up being the final score at the San Mamés.
Giving up three away goals and being down by two is not a good place for Bilbao Athletic to be going back to Villarreal. They will really have their work cut out for them if they want to advance to the next round, but the tie isn’t over yet. The players looked to be in good spirits following the loss and they all know that they must work hard this week to prepare for the second leg. Regardless of the outcome, this has already been an unbelievable season for a very talented Bilbao Athletic team.