Barakaldo 0-5 Athletic Club: Berizzo’s Lions Dominate First Half
There were plenty of expectations going into the second friendly of the preseason after Athletic beat Amorebieta 3-0. This time Eduardo Berizzo called up the stars that he had left behind in the first match and fans were anxious to see how they would do in the new system. At the start of the game both sides were taking it easy but it wouldn’t be long before the Lions would open up the scoring.
In the 19th minute Athletic won a corner and Yuri Berchiche stepped up to take it. He put in a cross that found Yeray who placed his header into the bottom far corner to give Athletic a 1-0 lead. It was the second goal from a corner this summer. Two minutes later the Lions would double their lead when Dani García lifted a pass over the top of the defense to Iñaki Williams. The forward ran onto the ball, took a deft touch, and calmly slotted past the keeper to make it 2-0.
At this point Athletic were in complete control as Barakaldo struggled to win possession and link passes together. Berizzo’s team continued to build attacks from the middle of the pitch and play the ball wide, but Iker Muniain was able to split the defense with a through ball to Gorka Guruzeta in the box. Guruzeta settled the ball and scored to give Athletic their third goal of the afternoon. It was the second goal of the night created by a sublime pass.
Athletic won a free kick from several yards outside the box in the 29th minute and Dani García stood over the ball. He slid a pass to Yuri Berchiche who fired from distance but had his shot saved by the keeper. However, the blocked shot fell to Aritz Aduriz who chipped a defender for the fourth goal of the night. Minutes later Iker Muniain would add a fifth when Barakaldo’s defender tried to make a tackle but ended up pushing the ball to Muniain who was sanding in front of the keeper. The Captain calmly finished the chance and the Lions led 5-0 going into halftime.
Berizzo changed the entire lineup in the second half and it took the players a while to find their rhythm. Ander Iturraspe functioned as the defensive midfielder while Oihan Sancet and Unai López were tasked with creating chances. Throughout the half Sabin Merino would have four solid chances in front of goal and all of them were saved. Three shots were right at the keeper, but the fourth required a great stop. Asier Villalibre also had an opportunity but couldn’t beat the keeper. Both forwards needed to have a strong match but their finishing was poor.
Players like Cristian Ganea, Iñigo Vicente, and Iñigo Córdoba looked good at times, as did Peru Nolaskoain who was once again featuring in defense. At times his positioning was a bit off, but he made plays when needed. Despite creating several chances the Lions would not score a goal in the second half. Barakaldo did have two chances of their own but Alex Remiro did well to keep a clean sheet. The match finally ended with Athletic having won 5-0 to keep their surging momentum going ahead of their training trip to Holland.