Athletic had the chance to move into second place in the La Liga table on Sunday as they traveled to face off with Celta Vigo. The Lions had won five of their last six trips to Balaídos, but had yet to record a victory on the road this season and knew that the Galicians posed a plethora of attacking options. Gaizka Garitano warned that it would be an extremely difficult fixture and the Mister was right.
From the opening whistle Celta were able to dictate the pace of play and create better chances. Athletic’s pressure wasn’t an issue for the hosts who managed to build out from the back and find space going forward. The Basques also looked good in possession but failed to generate any real scoring chances as the first half ended without any goals.
The game got more physical in the second half with Athletic clearly frustrated at not being able to find the back of the net. Meanwhile, Celta remained in control and would eventually open up the scoring in the 74th minute when Iago Aspas beat Unai Simón with a header from a corner kick. Despite bringing on Aritz Aduriz and Gaizka Larrazabal minutes later, the Zurigorri were unable to find the equalizer as the match ended in a 1-0 loss.
Athletic’s strong start to the season has quickly come to an end. The Basques have gone three straight games without a victory, including two consecutive losses, but will enter the international break in 7th place. Over the next two weeks Garitano will have the opportunity to address problem areas with the team in desperate need of better performances coming out of the break.