Athletic 0-2 Getafe: Europe Slipping Away
Athletic had an opportunity to move as high as 7th in the La Liga table on Sunday, but taking points off of Getafe has proved difficult for anyone this season. With both teams building their success on strong defending it would be challenging for either side to create chances and neither were willing to settle for a draw.
The Basques started strong with Asier Villalibre holding up play in the final third and Iker Muniain looking to pick out dangerous passes. However, Getafe were very organized at the back and prevented Athletic from generating any real danger in and around the box. As time passed the visitors would start to have more possession and create problems.
Getafe opened the scoring in the 36th minute following a string of quick passes at the top of the box. Damian Suaréz then beat Yeray and put a shot past Unai Simón to make it 1-0 and stun the fans at San Mamés. Iñaki Williams had an opportunity to level the score just moments later but sent a shot off the far post, though the offside flag had already come up.
Athletic were determined to find an equalizer quickly after the break, but Getafe had other plans. After Simón made a big save to deny the visitors, Nyom’s cross struck the arm of Iñigo Lekue which resulted in a penalty. Jaime Mata converted from the spot to make it 2-0 as Athletic where faced with a mountain to climb.
Gaizka Garitano eventually responded in the 68th minute by bringing on Aritz Aduriz, Ibai Gómez, and Ander Capa which gave the Zurigorri a massive boost. Aduriz had a header and another opportunity saved while Gómez as able to set up a number of opportunities with crosses. Williams appeared to have pulled a goal back when he beautifully finished a pass from Iñigo Martinez, but once again the flag had been raised.
Athletic were the better side following the substitutions but it was too little too late. The final whistle came with Getafe having won 2-0 in front of a silent San Mamés. Having now gone seven straight league games without a win, Athletic have begun to fall out of the race for Europe and will turn their attention to Thursday’s Copa del Rey match against Barcelona.