Valencia 2-0 Athletic Club: Lions Fail To Conquer The Mestalla
Valencia started the game in control with the support of their fans. They forced Athletic to defend for long stretches, but the Lions also had their chances. Iker Muniain dribbles past three defenders and into the area before losing the ball before Raúl García was taken down in the box. Replay showed that the defender didn’t even touch the ball before fouling García, but the VAR review ruled no penalty.
The rest of the half continued with Valencia enjoying the better of the chances, but Athletic’s defense held strong. Ibai Gómez and Beñat continued to look for crosses into the box, but the likes of Iñaki Williams, Iker Muniain, and Raúl García weren’t able to get any real looks on goal. The whistle was blown with the game still scoreless and both sides needing to make a few changes to break the deadlock in the final 45 minutes.
Valencia came out of the break with a lot of energy and clearly wanting to strike quickly. They forced Athletic into the final third and it wouldn’t take long for it to lead to problems. In the 48th minute Rodrigo Moreno was able to volley a shot past Iago Herrerín to give the hosts a 1-0 lead and stun Athletic. The Lions responded by sending more players forward to attack and slowly started to get more control of the game.
In the final 15 minutes Athletic created a few chances, but the final ball was always missing. The Basques failed to test the goalkeeper and Valencia would make them pay. While Athletic had so many players forward the hosts hit on a counter attack in the 88th minute and were able to add a second goal to seal the victory. The 2-0 loss was just the second league defeat for Athletic under Garitano and they will now have to quickly turn their attention to Friday’s match against Espanyol at San Mamés.