Athletic Club were hungry for a win on Saturday when they marched into the Wanda Metropolitano. The Lions had gone 10 straight games without a victory and knew that it would be hard to end that streak against a strong Atlético Madrid side. Still, the players were confident and said all week that they intended to win. From the opening whistle they showed no fear.
Atlético enjoyed the bulk of the possession to start the game, but Athletic defended well. Iñigo Martinez and Unai Nuñez were in position to stop attacks at the right time, while the fullbacks did well to not give their opponents space to create. The home side then looked to play through the middle, which caused a bit of a problem until Mikel San José and Beñat found their rhythm in that area.
After 30 minutes of action Athletic were playing well. They were able to hold possession much better and even forced a few turnovers. Almost every attack came down Markel Susaeta’s wing and the Captain even had a shot that sailed wide of the goal. Meanwhile, Atlético had also put together a few chances, but the final ball was missing. The deadlock would finally be broken in the 36th minute.
Iker Muniain played through Susaeta who immediately slid the ball to San José who was surging into the box. The midfield fired a shot at goal that struck the crossbar and bounced on the line. Iñaki Williams reacted immediately to finish off the chance and give Athletic a 1-0 lead. It was only the second league goal scored against Atlético at home this season and they went into the break stunned and frustrated.
Diego Simeone responded by bringing on Vitolo for Diego Costa to start the second half and the game immediately began to open up. After an hour of action Thomas would put the score level when he beat Iago Herrerín with a shot from well outside the box. Athletic would immediately respond when Muniain played through Iñaki. Diego Godin didn’t have the speed to keep up with the forward who calmly finished past Jan Oblak to give the Basques the lead again.
In the 76th minute Eduardo Berizzo made a controversial substitute when he brought on Raúl García for Iñaki. Minutes later Atlético would score to tie the game again when Rodri won a header from a corner kick. The Lions were not able to create anything going forward with Iñaki out of the game and the home side began to look for the winner. It would come in stoppage time when a free kick eventually lead to a header from Godin that gave Atlético a 3-2 win in a dramatic finish.
Athletic played well enough to win the game, but even a draw would have been a good result. Instead the Zurigorri will return to Bilbao with nothing to show for their efforts and fans have already begun to blame Berizzo’s substitutions for the dramatic loss in Madrid. The international break has officially begun and Athletic will be back in action on 25 November when they host Getafe at the San Mamés.