Asier Villalibre Leads Athletic To 1-0 Friendly Win Over Sevilla
Athletic’s second friendly against Sevilla on Friday yielded a much better result than the first. Despite controlling most of the first half, the Lions fell 2-1 in the previous game but came away with a 1-0 victory in the following match. Gaizka Garitano fielded another mixed lineup that managed to dictate play and prevent Sevilla from creating any real chances in front of goal.
The only real chance in the first half came from Unai Núñez. A cross from Unai López found Núñez at the far post but the defender’s header was sent straight to the goalkeeper. Athletic were relatively untroubled in the opening 45 minutes and came out strong again after the break.
Iñigo Córdoba nearly opened the scoring at the hour mark following a beautiful attack down the right. López played Ander Capa through and the defender pulled a pass back to Córdoba who had a close shot saved. The Lions should have taken the lead but would be rewarded moments later.
Within a minute of coming into the game, Iñigo Vicente provided the spark the team needed in the final third. The 22-year-old whipped in a cross which found Asier Villalibre inside the box. Villalibre beat the goalkeeper with a sublime header to give Athletic a deserved 1-0 lead. Neither side was able to score anymore goals as the Basques won 1-0 at Pinatar Arena.
López put in a terrific performance alongside Dani García in midfield. The pairing likely suggests that the two will start together against Eibar next weekend. Villalibre and Oihan Sancet impressed in their minutes as well, once again showing that they can contribute to the first team this season. Athletic return to La Liga action next Sunday when the Zurigorri visit Ipurua for the first Basque Derby of the season.