Athletic Club 1-1 Real Betis: Postgame Player Ratings
Athletic secured another massive three points on Sunday when they defeated Real Betis 1-0 at the San Mamés. The scoreline might not be impressive, but it was arguably the best game that the Lions have played all season. It was a complete team performance with everything contributing in a positive way and there was no doubt that Athletic deserved the victory. Everyone played well and guaranteed some high scores in the postgame ratings.
Iago Herrerín 9/10
Iago Herrerín didn’t have much to do against Betis, but the times he was called on were big moments. He made two great saves, one on a long shot from Diego Lainez, and the other a diving save on a free kick that was going to tie the score. Herrerín also played an important role in helping Athletic keep possession by completing 14 of 25 long balls, many of which beautifully placed at the feet of a teammate to start an attack. Another solid performance from the goalkeeper.
Ander Capa 9/10
Ander Capa was absolutely everywhere during the game. He was constantly involved in the play, both offensively and defensively, and caused plenty of problems for Betis. Going forward he provided 2 key passes and won a dribble while linking up well with Oscar De Marcos. Defensively he had 4 tackles, 4 clearances, 3 interceptions, and won 3 headers. For some, Capa was the man of the match.
The argument for man of the match could be made about several players and Yeray is one of them after his perfectly flawless performance on Sunday. He completed 88% of his passed, didn’t commit a single foul, and was spectacular in defense. The center-back won 4 tackles, made 4 clearances, blocked a shot, and led the team with 5 interceptions. He did have one pass that always went awry, but completed 3 of 6 long balls and his overall performance more than made up for that one moment.
Iñigo Martinez 8/10
Iñigo Martinez had another great game and seems to be getting better every week under Gaizka Garitano. The 27-year-old won 1 tackle, made 3 clearances, won 3 headers, and had 4 interceptions. He was regularly putting himself in the way of Betis attacks and his score would be even higher if not for his 4 fouls which all led to dangerous free kicks.
Yuri Berchiche 8/10
A lot could be said about Yuri Berchiche’s partnership with Iñigo Córdoba on the left wing. The two are playing great football together and it’s affecting games in a big way. Berchiche had another good performance and nearly created a goal when his low driven shot almost found Iñaki Williams at the far post. The left-back also had a shot of his own that was saved by the keeper and provided 5 crosses. Defensively he made a tackle and an interception while also winning one header.
Dani García 10/10
When Dani García is playing well he plays very well. Some believe he was Athletic’s best player on the pitch and it’s hard to argue with that. His performance may not stand out statistically, but it’s the things he did off the ball and his positioning that were more noteworthy as he worked to keep possession and cut off passing lanes when in defense. He completed 91% of his passes, which led the team, made 2 interceptions, 2 clearances, won 2 headers, and blocked a shot. It was García’s interception in the first half that quickly led to Athletic’s goal.
Mikel San José 9/10
Mikel San José has received a lot of criticism over the past year and a half, but that should be over. Garitano is using the midfielder in the right way, taking advantage of his strengths, and San José is responding with great performances. He started in place of Beñat and, although he isn’t the same type of player, the team never skipped a beat. The 29-year-old completed 81% of his passes, 3 of 3 on long balls, and gave a key pass in the second half that nearly led to a goal. Defensively he was even better with 3 clearances, 1 interception, 1 header, and 5 tackles which led the team.
Oscar De Marcos 9/10
Oscar De Marcos should have a perfect score, but his red card late in the second half, whether justified or not, had to lower the grade. Until his sending off De Marcos was affecting the game like no one else. Betis had no answer for his constant attacks down the right wing and he should’ve ended the goal with at least one more assist than the one he provided on Iker Muniain’s goal. De Marcos had one good shot that was off target, provided 3 key passes, 2 crosses, and won a dribble. His work rate was invaluable as well as he won 2 headers, 1 tackle, 1 interception, and made 3 clearances. If not for the red card it would have been a perfect score.
Iker Muniain 9/10
After the game Garitano said that Iker Muniain is giving the team a lot from the midfield position and that was putting it simply. The 26-year-old has been playing at a high level for the past 2 months and was once again phenomenal on Sunday. Not only did Muniain score the winning goal, he also had 2 other shots, one of which skimmed the post, and gave a key passes that nearly became an assist. He was even allowed to drift around and found himself on the wing a few times where he sent in 5 crosses.
Iñigo Córdoba 7/10
Iñigo Córdoba had the weakest performance of any Athletic player and that’s saying something considering that he was also really good. The 21-year-old provided 2 key passes, won a dribble, and was consistently linking up with Yuri Berchiche to cause chaos down the left wing. He also helped out defensively with impressive work rate to win 1 tackle, 1 interception, make 1 clearances, and win 2 headers.
Iñaki Williams 8/10
Despite being the focal point of the attack Iñaki Williams was unable to find the back of the net, but he was still very effective and demanding constant attention from the Betis defenders. The striker had one promising shot blocked, gave a beautiful key pass to Muniain that could have led to a goal, and won 2 dribbles while also being used as an outlet late in the game when Athletic were pinned back in defense. Iñaki wasn’t afraid to track back either as he won 2 headers and made 3 important tackles.
Mikel Balenziaga 6/10
Mikel Balenziaga came on for Córdoba in the second half and moved to left-back which allowed Berchiche to play on the wing. It was a brilliance change from Garitano and in his limited minutes Balenziaga did very well defensively with good positioning and even cleared the ball once.
Ibai Gómez 6/10
Ibai Gómez came on for Muniain with just over 10 minutes left to play, but that was enough time for him to have an impact. His fresh legs on the wing were a welcome relief as he was able to carry the ball forward a few times and keep the Betis defenders honest when pushing up into the final third. In the final moments of the game when Athletic were forced to defend deep Gómez did exactly what was asked of him.
Gorka Guruzeta 6/10
After coming on for Iñaki Williams in the 86th minute Gorka Guruzeta would immediately be called upon as the team was defending deep in their own half. The striker was brave and stood his ground defensively clearing the ball once, making an interception, and providing a key pass. When the 22-year-old came on the field he knew his first duty would be defending and his energy and work rate helped him do that when the team needed it most.