Bilbao Athletic Eliminated From Promotional Playoffs In Penalty Shootout
Bilbao Athletic kicked off the opening round of the promotional playoffs on Saturday night with a difficult game against Badajoz. With Bilbao Athletic one of the most deadly teams in attack this season, it came as no surprise that the Kumeak started strong while looking for an early goal.
Just minutes after kickoff Bilbao Athletic already had Badajoz pinned back in their own box. Oier Zarraga would nearly open up the scoring in the 12th minute with a long shot that sailed inches wide of the post, but the first goal would soon follow. Bilbao Athletic won a corner kick in the 17th minute which was taken short before a cross from Zarraga found Oier Luengo in the box for an open header.
Despite going down early, Badajoz weren’t backing down from the challenge. Jokin Ezkieta was forced to make a diving save in the 25th minute, but the equalizer eventually followed moments later with a header in the box from Badajoz. After pulling level Badajoz would take control of the game and nearly took the lead when Bilbao Athletic failed to clear a ball in the box.
Bilbao Athletic went back on the front foot after the break with Imanol García de Albéniz setting up Juan Artola for a wonderful chance at the far post at the hour mark. Artola settled the pass and fired a shot from close range which was somehow saved by the goalkeeper. Not long after Badajoz would go down a man when Iván Casado was shown a second yellow card.
The sending off saw Badajoz set up defensively in their own half while taking chances on the odd counter attacks. Gorka Guruzeta would miss a header in the box and Unai Vencedor struck the post from a free kick, but Bilbao Athletic were unable to make the most of their advantage as the game eventually went to extra time. The Badajoz defense would hold up in the additional time with neither side able to break the deadlock.
After 120 minutes of football the game would finally be decided by penalties. Oihan Sancet stepped up first and had his shot saved by the goalkeeper. Unai Vencedor and Imanol followed with goals while Ezkieta made a big save of his own. Gorka Guruzeta would then have his shot saved, but was able to take a second shot because the goalkeeper left his line too early. Guruzeta did miss on the retry.
Jon Morcillo and Jon Sillero would then convert their chances, but Victor San Bartolomé failed to beat the goalkeeper. Ezkieta was unable to make the save needed to keep the shootout alive as Badajoz scored their sixth penalty to win the game and eliminate Bilbao Athletic from the promotional playoffs.