Bilbao Athletic 2-1 Leioa: Villalibre And Benito Lead 10-Man Kumeak To Victory At Lezama

Asier Villalibre

Asier Villalibre has scored 13 goals this season (MD)

Bilbao Athletic hosted Leioa at Lezama on Sunday in what was a must-win for the Katxorros. The team was coming off of arguably their most disappointing loss of the season and were in desperate need of three points if they wanted to keep pace with the promotional playoff zone of the table. Once again it would be a massive test for Aritz Solabarrieta’s group.

Not only were the Kumeak without several key players due to injury, star defender Dani Vivian was shown a red card just five minutes into the game which immediately changed the complexity of the match. Despite the booking the team continued to attack and were singularly focused on winning the game. Their efforts would be rewarded not too long afterwards.

In the 11th minute a ball was played down the right wing to Gaizka Larrazabal who sent a low cross into the box where Asier Villalibre was waiting to finish it off. With an early 1-0 lead in hand Bilbao Athletic were much more comfortable and as their visitors looked to find an equalizer they would strike again, this time with Larrazabal assisting Asier Benito in a nearly identical goal in the 25th minute.

Even with a 2-0 lead the game never got any easier for the home side who faced constant attacks from Leioa, but stood their ground. It took a few saves from Hodei Oleaga as well as the post stopping a shot but they went into the halftime break without conceding a goal and the understanding that the next 45 minute would be even more difficult.

As expected, Leioa came out firing and hit the post once again. Bilbao Athletic spent long stretches in defense and would eventually surrender a goal to Ibrahima in the 55th minute. With the game on the line the Katxorros dug in and defended exceptionally well while also trying to attack when they did win the ball. The visitors were unable to find an equalizer and the game finally ended in a 2-1 win which saw Solabarrieta’s team secure an important three points ahead of Saturday’s trip to Gernika.

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