Asier Villalibre Brace Leads Bilbao Athletic To 3-2 Comeback Win Over Calahorra At Lezama
Aritz Solabarrieta’s first game as Bilbao Athletic manager was a match to forget. The Katxorros fell 3-1 on the road against a strong Sporting side and were in need of a strong performance at home on Saturday against Calahorra in response. The new coach started a very strong lineup at Lezama, but the Kumeak found themselves trailing early on and had to overcome a great deal of adversity.
Calahorra took the lead just two minutes into the game when Adrien Goni caught Hodei Oleaga off of his line. The early goal stunned Bilbao Athletic who then had to mount a comeback and slowly began to take back control of the match. Asier Villalibre thought he had drawn level in the 9th minute when he finished off a shot from Victor San Bartolome that had struck the post, but the offside flag was up. The visitors nearly doubled their lead soon after when a free kick shot struck the crossbar.
Villalibre wouldn’t be denied and was finally able to restore parity in the 37th minute after heading an Inigo Vicente cross past the keeper to make it 1-1. The two sides would go into the break having created plenty of chances and with the feeling that it would be a wide open game in the final 45 minutes.
Despite a strong start to the second half Bilbao Athletic would find themselves trailing again after 57 minutes. The defense allowed Calahorra too much space in the final third and the visitors were able to lob a pass over the backline. Oleaga was caught in a difficult position and was unable to stop a chipped shot that made it 2-0 with just over 30 minutes left to play at Lezama.
The Katxorros would answer back just 11 minutes later when Unai Vencedor beat the keeper from a free kick. The striker was the 18-year-old’s first goal of the season and his first goal as a professional footballer. Now with all of the momentum, Bilbao Athletic would complete the comeback in the 75th minute when they capitalized on a turnover in the midfielder. Asier Benito sent a low cross into the box which Gaizka Larrazabal let roll between his legs to Villalibre who finished it off to give Bilbao Athletic the 3-2 lead and victory.
It was an exciting match for those in attendance and a big win for Bilbao Athletic and new manager Aritz Solabarrieta. The team now trail the promotional playoff zone in the league table by a mere three points and will be back in action on Saturday as they travel to take on Real Unión in what will be another difficult fixture.