Following the other results across the weekend, Sunday’s match against Celta was the perfect opportunity for Athletic to make up ground in the race for Europe. A win would have seen the Zurigorri climb to 5th in the La Liga table but the Galicians were determined to leave the Cathedral with something positive.
Athletic took immediate control to start the game and had several opportunities to open the scoring. After just two minutes Iñigo Martinez put a header over the crossbar which was then followed by one of the best chances of the game when Yuri Berchiche was played through on the left wing. The defender played a ball to Raúl García who slammed a shot just wide of the goal.
In the 11th minute a cross from Iñaki Williams was nearly poked in by a Celta defender but the visitors managed to clear the ball. Moments later Yeray put a header wide of the near post. Athletic’s press caused constant problems for Celta, though the Galicians would eventually start to get into the game.
Athletic continued to create chances in front of goal and looked posed to finally score towards the end of the first half. Along with Berchiche having a shot saved, Muniain had an open header that should have put the Basques ahead but was miraculously save. Santi Mina would whiff on an open net chance just before the break which once again warned the Lions that Celta refused to go down easily.
The second half began similarly to the first with Berchiche having yet another shot saved before Williams was denied from close range. Athletic were in complete control until Celta stunned the hosts with a goal from Rafinha to take a 1-0 lead. Now behind, Athletic turned up the pressure but found it difficult to create chances as Celta were content to sit back in defense.
With around 15 minute left Muniain would win a penalty on the left side of the box and Raíl García stepped up to the line and converted to level the score. The remainder of the game was all Athletic but even five added minutes weren’t enough for the Basques to find the winner. Despite being by far the better side, Athletic only managed a 1-1 draw with Celta to earn one point and keep their 8th place spot in the La Liga table.
Athletic will now begin preparing for Wednesday’s Copa del Rey match against Elche before traveling to Espanyol next weekend looking for three points in what will be yet another challenging fixture.