Joseba Etxeberria “The Team Has Had A Great Season”
Bilbao Athletic’s season came to a close on Saturday night when the Kumeak were beaten in penalties by Badajoz in the first round of the promotional playoffs. Oier Luengo opened up the scoring with an early header before Badajoz answered back with a goal of their own. The shootout was tight, but ultimately Badajoz came out on top to advance to the next round.
“We lacked speed today in the mast meters during attacks,” manager Joseba Etxeberria said after the match. Badajoz were shown a red card in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to give Bilbao Athletic the edge. “We just couldn’t take control,” Etxeberria added. “The players worked very hard and we had opportunities, but we couldn’t take advantage.”
Despite being eliminated from the playoffs Etxeberria was full of praise for his squad. “I’m proud of the players,” he said. “The team has had a great season. We will try again next year.”
Oihan Sancet had a similar message when speaking to Athletic TV after the game. “We should be proud of the season we’ve had,” said the midfielder. Sancet has split time between Bilbao Athletic and the first team this year but will be permanently promoted next season.
The Bilbao Athletic squad will look different next year with some players moving on and others being promoted. Starlets Nico Serrano and Nico Williams will both make the jump straight from Juvenil A along with several players coming up from Basconia. Serrano made his debut in Saturday’s loss and was one of the most dynamic players on the pitch.
Being beaten in penalties was a disappointing way to end such an exciting season, but there are plenty of reasons to be encouraged about the future. Joseba Etxeberria will continue as manager next year with hopes of taking the Kumeak back to the playoffs once again.