Athletic wanted to bounce back from Thursday’s embarrassing loss to Cadíz. Sunday’s trip to Mendizorrotza presented the team with a perfect chance to pick up three points and start moving up the table, but disaster would strike once again. Failing to create anything in attack, Athletic fell 1-0 to Alavés.
Alavés took the initiative to start the game, often putting Athletic’s defense under pressure. The Lions held strong at the back and looked most dangerous when on the counter attack. After 11 minutes Athletic would get the first opportunity when Yuri Berchiche was sent through and had a pass blocked as Oihan Sancet made a run into the box.
By the 30 minute mark Athletic settled into more possession and control of the game. Sancet, Unai López, and Iñaki Williams combined well in attack, but failed to create any clear chances in front of goal. Williams nearly set up Sancet who was running into the box with his cross blocked as well. Despite being the better side in the opening 45 minutes, Athletic continued to struggle in the final third.
Pablo Machín brought on Lucas Pérez to start the second half and the move immediate made an impact. Every time Pérez touched the ball Alavés looked capable of scoring. Meanwhile, Athletic still lacked ideas in attack. After seeing Alavés come close to scoring Gaizka Garitano responded by bringing on Iker Muniain and Jon Morcillo.
Alavés finally broke the deadlock in the 72nd minute with a goal from a free kick. Pérez’s cross found Ely for a glancing header into the far corner to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Unai Simón was called on to make a diving save moments later to keep Alavés from doubling the score.
Alex Berenguer and Asier Villalibre entered the game but it was too late for Athletic. The Zurigorri still failed to generate any clear chances on goal as the game ended in a disappointing 1-0 loss. With the international break starting on Monday the club has a difficult decision to make as Athletic sit in the relegation zone.