Bilbao Athletic 1-0 Gimnástica: Asier Villalibre’s Header Seals 3 Points At Lezama

Asier Villalibre Inigo Vicente

Asier Villalibre celebrates his goal with Iñigo Vicente (MD)

Bilbao Athletic were in need of a win on Saturday when they welcomed Gimnástica to Lezama in what promised to be a tightly contested match. Manager Aritz Solabarrieta started what is arguably his strongest lineup, including Peru Nolaskoain who played in the midfield alongside Unai Vencedor and Victor San Bartolomé. It was a physical match from the start, but it wouldn’t take long for the Katxorros to open up the scoring.

In the 26th minute Iñigo Vicente sent a cross into the box that split two defenders and found Asier Villalibre at the near post. The striker did well to head the ball past the keeper which gave Bilbao Athletic an early and deserved 1-0 lead. Minutes later they had the chance to double the score when Villalibre’s cross was blasted at goal by the head of Nolaskoain but the Gimnástica keeper made a tremendous save.

Athletic continue to cause problems for their visitors with crosses into the box and it continued into the second half. At one point Villalibre beat the keeper to a ball and played it back to Vicente who tried to chip the defense and score in the open net. His shot would skip wide of the goal. Vicente would have two other chances, one of which saw him cut inside and try to find the far corner which was saved, and the other was a curling effort that missed the top corner.

In the final minutes of the game Gimnástica turned up the pressure and sent more players into attack looking for the equalizer. With just a few minutes left in the match a cross was headed at goal and Hodei Oleaga was able to made a great save to keep the clean sheet as the match ended in a 1-0 victory for the Katxorros.

The victory saw Bilbao Athletic climb to 7th in the table and they are now only 4 points off of the last promotional playoff spot, although every team in the top 6 will be playing on Sunday. Next Saturday the team will be on the road for another challenging match, this time against Amorebieta. Bilbao Athletic have yet to win away from home under Aritz Solabarrieta but are hoping to change that and move even closer to the top four spots in the standings.

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