Athletic Club had two weeks to prepare for Sunday’s match against Getafe and it was clear that they needed a victory. The Lions had gone 11 straight games without a win and came into the game in the relegation zone. Playing at the San Mamés gave the Basques a major edge, but it was never going to be an easy game. As expected, there was late drama at the Cathedral.
The Basques were in complete control to start the game. Unai Nuñez had a beautiful header saved just ten minutes in, then Mikel San José tried to play through Iñaki Williams but a defender made a sliding tackle to stop the ball. Athletic were clearly looking for ways to get the ball to Iñaki Williams in space which proved fruitless due to Getafe’s organized efforts.
In the second half the game immediately began to open up. Getafe had a breakaway and were in on goal before Iago Herrerín made a kick save to keep the clean sheet alive. Minutes later San José was able to direct a header on goal which was saved. Things changed around the hour mark when Raúl García and Mikel Balenziaga were both in pain and had to be taken off. Iñigo Córdoba and Peru Nolaskoain would replace them.
Just a few minutes after coming on Nolaskoain would break the deadlock. Beñat whipped in a free kick which the 20-year-old headed past the keeper to give Athletic a deserved 1-0 lead. At this point it looked as though the Lions would try to defend their lead and it would prove costly.
Seven minutes later Getafe would equalize when Athletic failed to clear the ball in the box. A pass was played to Jaime Mata who was unmarked at the back post. Oscar De Marcos kept the Getafe forward onside and the visitors drew level at 1-1. Eduardo Berizzo responded by bringing on Aritz Aduriz who nearly took the lead back when his header struck the near post.
The referee gave four added minutes at the end of regulation and Getafe would use them all as they tried to find the winning goal. With seconds left to play they were awarded a corner kick and Iñigo Martinez was seen dragging down Jaime Mata in the box. Upon replay it clearly looked like the visitors should have been given a penalty, but the match was over and it was not reviewed.
With Sunday’s draw Athletic have now gone 12 straight games without a win and currently sit 18th in the La Liga table. It hasn’t been the season that the Zurigorri expected and they must act quickly if they are going to turn things around and climb out of the relegation zone. Athletic will be back in action on Wednesday when they will host Huesca at the San Mamés in the first leg of their Copa del Rey draw.