Athletic Club 2-1 Alavés: Muniain And Morcillo Lead Lions To Victory
Athletic may have started off the preseason with an embarrassing 3-1 loss to Logroñés over weekend, but the Zurigorri were quick to respond in Wednesday’s friendly against Alavés. First half goals from Iker Muniain and Jon Morcillo led Athletic to an impressive 2-1 victory at Lezama with several other players putting in strong performances.
Kenan Kodro would have the first clear chance of the game in the 5th minute. A cross from Asier Villalibre found the forward with space in the box but the header was off target. Athletic were in control from the start and throughout the entire first half Oier Zarraga and Jon Morcillo tormented Alavés with exceptional dribbling and passes between the lines.
Alavés would nearly go ahead in the 22nd minute when Jokin Ezkieta was forced to rush out to break up an attack. The ball fell to Lucas Pérez who put a shot on the open net but Mikel Balenziaga was in place to clear it off the line. Minutes later Athletic would finally take the lead when Oier Luengo was taken down in the box during a corner kick.
A penalty was awarded to Athletic and Iker Muniain calmly beat the goalkeeper from the spot to give the hosts a deserved 1-0 lead. The lead would be doubled not long afterwards when an errant back pass from Alavés was picked up by Jon Morcillo. Alone on goal, Morcillo rounded the goalkeeper and tucked a shot into the near corner to make it 2-0 before the break.
Following halftime Gaizka Garitano made 9 changes to the lineup with Ezkieta and Kenan Kodro staying on the field. Alavés came out strong and quickly pulled a goal back in the 50th minute when a cross into the box was headed in by Deyverson. Soon Asier Villalibre, Unai Vencedor, and Oier Zarraga were brought back into the game with Athletic struggling to find a rhythm.
Alavés were slightly the better side in the second half but were unable to find the equalizer. Athletic’s defense held strong. The Lions didn’t create much in the final third, yet were able to control the game to come away with a 2-1 victory. Athletic will be back in action on Friday with a trip to Real Oviedo followed by a friendly against Eibar the next day.