Levante 3-0 Athletic Club: New Formation, Same Problems
Wednesday’s 4-0 Copa del Rey win over Huesca was supposed to be the turning point in Athletic Club’s season. The Lions had finally tasted victory again and the hope was that they would be able to turn that into three points against Levante on Monday night. Manager Eduardo Berizzo even altered the lineup, but the same problems were on display once again.
Athletic enjoyed possession and were patient with the ball, but were unable to generate any real chances in front of goal. Meanwhile, Levante waited for turnovers and looked dangerous every time they hit on the counter. There was little action between the two until the 40th minute when drama would take over. Unai Nuñez was called for a dangerous challenge and the tackle went to VAR review. There was belief that the defender could be sent off but the referee opted for a yellow card instead.
The time it took for the review results in three added minutes before the break and that would prove costly. Cristian Ganea committed a foul on the right side of the box in stoppage time and Levante would send a cross into the box. The ball came loose and Chema Rodriguez was able to direct it into the back of the net to give the hosts a 1-0 lead that felt like a dagger for the Basques.
Athletic came out of the break looking for an equalizer but Levante held their ground. The Basques were still unsuccessful in creating chances and would receive another blow in the 59th minute. A shot in the box was saved by Iago Herrerín but the rebound fell to José Campaña who beat the keeper to double the lead as the Athletic players began to hang their heads. It was the same story all over again.
Ten minutes later Levante would plunge the final nail into the coffin as Roger Martí finished off a beautiful combination of passes around the box. The game would eventually end 3-0 but not before Iñigo Martínez was booked and a VAR review saw Peru Nolaskoain given a red card. Both defenders will now miss the next La Liga match. Athletic fans were furious after the defeat and have called for the firing of Eduardo Berizzo which is now a realistic expectation as the Zurigorri sit 18th in the La Liga table in just the beginning of December.