Athletic had the chance to move clear of the relegation zone on Saturday when they played host to Real Valladolid at the San Mamés. As has been the case under new manager Gaika Garitano the Lions started strong, but they knew Valladolid would be a very difficult team to beat. Both sides traded possession back and forth without any real chances until close to the end of the first half.
A long ball into the box found Aritz Aduriz who directed it back to Ander Capa. The right-back struck a shot at goal that went right to the keeper. It wouldn’t take Athletic long to respond in an even better way. Just before the halftime whistle Raúl García was fouled in the box as he tried to win a ball in the air. A penalty was given and Aduriz beat the keeper from the spot with a miraculous take.
Coming out of the break the game really began to open up. Iñaki Williams and Ander Capa had chances to create down the right wing while Valladolid refused to sit back and defend. As the two sides traded half chances the game began to die off. Garitano brought on Iñigo Córdoba and Mikel San José to help control the match although the Basques would not get the ending they had hoped for.
Two minutes into stoppage time Valladolid were able to put a ball into the box that bounced around before finally falling to Óscar Plano who put it into the back of the net. The goal was immediately reviewed by VAR who ruled it a clean goal. The replay showed that a player was behind the goal out of bounds, which technically means he wasn’t able to play the ball and shouldn’t have been allowed to keep Plano onside. Either way, the goal stood.
The draw certainly felt like a defeat for Athletic who had been in control for most of the game, but the single point can still be a good thing. They have now moved into 17th place, one point ahead of Villarreal, for 17th in the table. The players will now have time to enjoy the Holidays before being back in action on 7 January when they travel to take on Celta Vigo at Balaídos.