Bilbao Athletic Eliminated From Promotional Playoffs Despite 2-0 Win Over Villarreal B
Bilbao Athletic played the second leg of their playoff promotional draw with Villarreal B on Saturday and Cachorros had a lot of work to do if they were going to overcome the 3-1 loss in the first meeting. Gaizka Garitano started Iker Undabarrena together in midfielder in an attempt to control possession and stifle Villarreal’s excellent counter-attacking that was the story of the first meeting. From the opening whistle it was clear that the team meant business and were not going to go down without a fight.
It didn’t take the Cachorros long to make their presence felt. Star forward Gorka Guruzeta opened up the scoring after just five minutes of play when blazed a shot from outside the box that struck the post and went into the back of the net. Fifteen minutes later left-back Andoni López would double the lead after Bilbao Athletic were awarded a foul. The home side were stunned to see the aggregate score now at 3-3, but Villarreal still had the advantage due to having scored three away goals. Gaizka Garitano’s side still needed another goal to complete the comeback.
In the second half the game really began to open up. Despite being in a difficult position, Villarreal refused to play defensively and continued to attack when they were in possession. The home side put together a few great chances and forced Unai Simón to make three truly spectacular saves. As time continued to tick away the Cachorros picked up the intensity knowing that their 2-0 would not be enough to send them through to the next round. They attacked in numbers and started to take more risks, but in the end the third goal eluded them and the final whistle was blown. Bilbao Athletic were eliminated from the promotional playoffs.
Even though Bilbao Athletic were eliminated and not able to gain promotion to the Segunda, their season can still only be defined as incredible. Gaizka Garitano helped turn the team into one of the strongest sides in the entire league and many young Lions have taken huge steps forward in their development. Gorka Guruzeta, Iñigo Vicente, and Andoni López will all get the chance to train with the first team this summer, while others like Peru Nolaskoain and Iñigo may get an invitation as well. The future is bright for Athletic and fans should praise Bilbao Athletic for a great season.