Athletic Club 3-3 Eibar: Lions Play To Exciting Draw In Friendly At Lezama

Ibai Gomez

Ibai Gómez provided an assist in Thursday’s friendly against Eibar (AC)

Athletic have made it a regular practice to play a friendly match during international breaks. The goal is for the team to keep their rhythm and form, while also giving minutes to players who are in need. On Thursday the Lions welcomed Eibar to Lezama where the two Basque rivals played to an exciting 6 goal thriller.

Alex Remiro returned to the field as the starting goalkeeper with Iñigo Lekue, Unai Nuñez, Peru Nolaskoain, and Mikel Balenziaga forming the defense in front of him. Ander Iturraspe and Mikel Rico featured as the midfield double pivot as Unai López played in a more attacking role. Iñigo Córdoba and Markel Susaeta occupied the wings with Gorka Guruzeta operating as the striker.

Eibar would strike first. Pere Milla finished off a chance from a rebounded shot in the 6th minute before Kike García doubled the lead with a header 18 minutes later. Athletic would eventually answer back in the 38th minute when Nolaskoain scored a header of his own to pull one goal back. The two sides would go into the halftime break with the score still 2-1.

Gaizka Garitano made a few changes to start the second half. Iago Herrerín, Beñat, Ibai Gómez, and Mikel San José came into the game for Remiro, Iturraspe, Rico, and Córdoba. It wouldn’t take long for the impact to be felt. The Lions started strong and in the 47th minute Guruzeta was able to capitalize on a blocked clearance to level the score at 2-2. Eibar would retake the lead just 4 minutes later with a goal from Marc Cardona.

Once again, Garitano turned to his bench. Bilbao Athletic’s Dani Vivian came into the game, along with Yeray, as Nuñez and Nolaskoain left the field. A few minutes later Iñaki Williams, Oihan Sancet, Oscar De Marcos, Ander Capa, and Yuri Berchiche would all come on for Lekue, Susaeta, Balenziaga, Guruzeta, and Unai López. Three minutes later Athletic would draw level at 3-3 with a goal from De Marcos thanks to a brilliant assist from Gómez.

The match would eventually end 3-3 and both teams will be happy with their performances. In these games, the results matter very little. Instead, the important aspect is that players got valuable minutes and were able to play a competitive game during the international break. Capa, Sancet, Lekue, Vivian, and others will all benefit from their opportunity. The team will now have the next two days off before returning to training on Sunday where Garitano will begin preparing for Athletic’s upcoming game against Girona.

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