The international break may be in full swing but that won’t keep Athletic off the field. Keeping with recent tradition, the Lions once again scheduled a friendly match during the break to keep their rhythm and continue improving. Athletic traveled to Baiona in the French Basque Country on Thursday for a match against Toulouse at Stade Didier Deschamps in what would prove to be an entertaining game.
After a strong start Toulouse would open up the scoring just 8 minutes into the game when Leya Iseka turned several times in the box to open up space for a shot that beat Iago Herrerín. From there, Athletic started to take more control of the game. The Basques pressed high up the pitch and forced several turnovers while also being patient with the ball when in possession.
The equalizer would eventually come in the 31st minute when Mikel Balenziaga played a ball over the top of the defense from the Athletic final third. Aritz Aduriz settled with his left foot and calmly put the ball in the back of the net to make it 1-1 in Baiona. It looks as though the Lions would be awarded a penalty when Dani Vivian was kicked in the box but the referee waved play on. Gaizka Garitano would then bring on Inigo Cordoba, Unai Lopez, Mikel Vesga, and Inigo Martinez to start the second half.
There weren’t many chances for either side throughout the final 45 minutes, although Herrerin had to make one great save to keep Toulouse from retaking the lead. There was drama, however, as Inigo Martinez was shown a red card for arguing with the referee. It was an odd decision and the Toulouse manager showed great sportsmanship by taking off one of his own players so that the two sides could finish the match with 10 men.
The game may have looked to be headed for a draw, but it wasn’t over yet. In the final minutes Toulouse were called for a handball in the box and Ibai Gomez stepped up to take the penalty. The winger slotted his shot into the bottom left corner to give Athletic a 2-1 lead and the victory at Stade Didier Deschamps. Athletic will now spend the remainder of the international break preparing for next Friday’s trip to Mallorca.