Athletic were looking to build on their momentum following last weekend’s great performance against Real Madrid and found themselves playing their first away game of the season on Sunday against Real Betis. The players had made it clear leading up to the match that there would be no excuse to not continue playing their same rhythm and they came out firing on all cylinders.
The Lions pressed Betis from the opening whistle and hosts struggled to break through. Several times Athletic forced turnovers in dangerous areas and it wouldn’t take long for them to capitalize. In the 7th minute Mikel Balenziaga sent in a cross that found the head of Raúl García. The midfielder blasted a header right at the keeper which was saved then headed the ball back to Iñaki Williams who was able to find the back of the net and give Athletic an early 1-0 lead.
Just ten minutes later Athletic would striker again having forced another turnover in Betis’s half of the field. Oscar De Marcos played a diagonal ball to Raúl García at the top of the box and the 32-year-old hit a rocket to the far bottom corner which beat the keeper and doubled the score for the Basques. With a 2-0 lead Athletic were in complete control and the game looked over, but drama would follow.
Just before halftime Markel Susaeta attempted a late tackle and was shown his second yellow card of the night. With the captain sent off Athletic began the second half with only ten men and were forced to defend their lead for the full 45 minutes. Real Betis went on the offensive and the game completely changed.
In the 51st minute the ball fell to Marc Bartra who was well outside the top of the box. With no one able to step up the defender took a dribble and blasted a shot to the far corner. Unai Simón dove and was able to get his hand on the ball, but it wasn’t enough as Real Betis had pulled one back with plenty of time left to find more. Eduardo Berizzo brought on Ander Capa with only a single goal lead at this point.
Roughly 15 minutes later Real Betis would find their equalizer. Sergio Canales received the ball in the box and struck a left-footed shot across the face of the goal which beat the outstretched arm of Unai Simón. The score was level and the home side were looking for the winner. Berizzo brought on Mikel San José and then later Iker Muniain in hopes of holding onto the draw.
Real Betis had a few more chances throughout the remainder of the second half, but Unai Simón came up big to make two great saves. The Lions were able to hold on to the 2-2 draw to earn a point although after the dominant first half it definitely felt more like a loss. Athletic remain unbeaten in La Liga and will now turn their attention to Wednesday’s match against Villarreal.