Athletic finished their preseason on Thursday with a 2-1 win over Mirandés at Anduva. Coming off of an intense match against Roma just 24 hours earlier, Gaizka Garitano heavily rotated the lineup but the Lions were still up for the challenge. Before the game even began the players took time to embrace Mirandés manager Andoni Iraola who was facing off against his boyhood club for the first time.
The match started slow but Athletic would eventually turn up the pressure and opened the scoring just 18 minutes in. Mirandés tried to play the ball back to the goalkeeper but didn’t see Aritz Aduriz who picked up the pass and calmly struck the ball into the back of the net to give the Basques an early lead. Iago Herrerín would then save a dangerous shot off of the post before Aduriz sent a header wide to end the half.
Athletic would strike again in the 51st minute when Unai Nuñez beat the goalkeeper with a header from a corner kick. It looked as though the Lions would cruise to victory but Mirandés refused to give up and were rewarded with a penalty just three minutes later. The hosts capitalized on the opportunity but were unable to find the equalizer before the final whistle.
Despite several key players sitting out, Athletic still performed very well and continued to build on their preseason momentum. The La Liga season will officially begin next week when the Basques host Barcelona at San Mamés. It’s going to be a difficult stretch of games to kick off the new campaign but the Zurigorri are committed to having a strong start as they compete for a top-six finish.