Athletic came out of the international break having lost their previous match 3-1 to rivals Real Sociedad. On Sunday the Lions traveled to Ipurua for their second straight Basque Derby, this time against Eibar, in what promised to be an intense match. The Lions were determined to shake off their recent poor form, but Eibar had no plans to let their neighbors have an easy night.
The home side were in complete control to start the match with Athletic unable to keep possession or string together passes. Yeray and Iñigo Martinez were forced to defend deep in their own box as the Armeros attacked in numbers, while Dani García and the midfield did their best to clear the ball. In the 17th minute Iñigo Martinez would get tangled up with Sergi Enrich in the box and the referee went to VAR which saw Eibar awarded a penalty.
Charles stepped up to convert the penalty which gave the home side an early 1-0 lead. It looked as though Athletic were going to be in the same position as previous matches, but a bit of magic turned things around quickly. A long ball was sent up the field to Raúl García who headed it in front of Iñaki Williams streaking towards goal. The forward took one touch and then beat the keeper near post to put the game level at 1-1.
The remainder of the first half consisted of much of the same with Eibar controlling the match. They had the majority of possession and were able to create a few weak chances, but Iago Herrerín was there to make the necessary saves. Athletic were unable put anything else together and seemed more willing to play long balls forward than try to settle into a possession.
Coming out of the break Athletic were starting to play a slower game and enjoyed a bit more of the ball, but Eibar’s pressure did not stop. They were still able to win the ball back in the midfield and were not afraid to take on their defenders anywhere on the pitch. Just after the hour mark Herrerín would be called on once again to make two incredible saves to keep the score level. Five minutes later he stopped a dangerous header that should have seen Eibar go ahead.
In the 77th minute Athletic would finally score through a counter attack, but the flag was up with Oscar De Marcos having received the ball well behind the last defender. The final minutes of the game did see the Lions get one more chance when Mikel San José took an open shot from the top of the box, but the goalkeeper had it covered. The match came to an end with Athletic having earned a point thanks to the 1-1 result at Ipurua. They will now turn their attention to Wednesday’s match at Vallecas against Rayo.