Athletic hosted Eibar at Lezama on Friday for a friendly behind closed doors, during which several players were given important minutes. Asier Villalibre, Iñigo Lekue, and Mikel Vesga were all named to the starting lineup while others such as Christian Ganea and Kenan Kodro would enter in the second half. It was a great opportunity for the Lions to build on momentum and work on improving certain areas during the international break.
Eibar would be the ones to open the scoring early in the first half with a shot from Charles, but Athletic would respond quickly. In the 27th minute, Lekue sent a long cross into the box where it found Ibai Gómez running into the box. The winger calmly tucked his shot into the far corner to level the score. Before the end of the first half, Villalibre would force a turnover in the box, chip the goalkeeper, and put the ball into the back of the net to give Athletic a deserved 2-1 lead.
Several changes were made throughout the second half with the most notable being the return of Gorka Guruzeta who has spent the past 6 months recovering from a torn ACL. Kenan Kodro also made the most of his minutes by scoring two goals. The first came from an Iñigo Córdoba cross to the back post while the second was an impressive driven shot from the right side of the box.
The final whistle sounded with Athletic having won 4-1 and both sides benefitting from the friendly. Gaizka Garitano was able to test a few options throughout the match and give needed opportunities to players who haven’t seen the field regularly this season. Athletic will now turn their attention to next weekend’s trip to El Sadar there they hope to put an end to Osasuna’s unbeaten run at home and pick up another three points.