Athletic reactivates its candidacy for the Champions League | Soccer | Sports


Athletic reactivated its candidacy for one of the coveted Champions League spots in Las Palmas. The red and whites had not won at home since January in Nervión, and they did it again on their trip to the Canary Islands. There they found the usual good weather, so far from the Bilbao winter, the heat of 600 fans, and an opponent with good workmanship, an extraordinary attitude, but somewhat blunt when it came to moving in the rival area. The opposite of the rojiblancos, effective in finishing, like almost all season.


Álvaro Vallés, Saul Coco, Julian Araujo (Benito Ramírez, min. 79), Sergi Cardona, Mika Mármol, Campaña (Enzo Loiodice, min. 56), Kirian Rodríguez, Sandro (Pejiño, min. 86), Munir (Marc Cardona, min. 79), Javi Muñoz and Alberto Moleiro (Marvin Olawale Akinlabi Park, min. 56)



Unai Simón, Daniel Vivian, Aitor Paredes, Yuri (Yeray, min. 74), De Marcos (Lekue, min. 70), O. Sancet (Unai Gómez, min. 61), Benat Prados, Ruiz de Galarreta, Nico Williams ( Berenguer, min. 70), Williams and Guruzeta (Raúl García, min. 74)

Goals 0-1 min. 31: Guruzeta. 0-2 min. 65: Saul Coco (pp).

Referee Miguel Angel Ortiz Arias

Yellow cards Daniel Vivian (min. 47), Saul Coco (min. 63), De Marcos (min. 66), Álvaro Vallés (min. 81) and Aitor Paredes (min. 91)

As soon as Athletic took their place on the pitch, they began to feel comfortable in the forward pressure. With Galarreta and Beñat Prados sweeping with the broom in the middle of the field when it was time to work backwards, or converted into field marshals if it was their team that tried to overcome the lines of the Sports Union, Valverde’s team overcame the initial anger of its technician, complaining about the inaccuracies of the first minutes.

It was his team that carried the weight of the match in the first half, the one that proposed and decided in the first three-quarters of an hour in Gran Canaria. Without too many dangerous approaches, except for a high header from Sancet, after a pass from Yuri on the left, Athletic tilted the field in their favor, while Las Palmas entrusted themselves to the inspiration of Sandro, the most active among the yellows during the first part.

Athletic was stuck in someone else’s field, until after half an hour, Nico Williams received the ball at the top of the area, he swung around as usual, and when he found the space left by his marker, he put a lob ball into the area that Guruzeta, who started To add serious numbers as a scorer – he already has eleven – he finished off with a cross header, to cause Valles to counterattack and give his team an advantage.

Las Palmas only reacted in set-piece actions, because their rhythm was controlled more by Athletic than by their own midfield. They had a chance in a header from Coco, after a corner well taken by Sandro, but Valverde’s team continued at the wheel, terrifying the island area with the speed of the Williams. Iñaki was able to score the second with a running shot that went off the post.

García Pimienta’s group wanted to change the chip in the second half. Athletic retreated further and left space, in search of a lethal counterattack, but Unión Deportiva did not lose as many balls as in the first half and, at least, they controlled the show, giving hope to the Gran Canaria stands. But, although the visiting team barely stretched, in a corner kick executed by Unai Gómez, Vivian and Coco put their heads together, holding on like a couple, and it was the Canarian player who surprised his goalkeeper and extended the lead. Basque advantage on the scoreboard.

It would be definitive, because for a few minutes, the Las Palmas footballers lowered their arms, and their final reaction of pride, more than hope, fell short. They had a goal disallowed by Sandro, the same as against Athletic in stoppage time, when Berenguer also touched it with the limb prohibited by the regulations, and in the best Canarian opportunity, also in extra time, when Cardona stood up against Unai Simón, the international goalkeeper, stretched his leg beyond the reasonable limits of elasticity, and deflected the ball to prevent the local goal.

The Sports Union had to surrender to the evidence against an Athletic that almost everything works out, that wins away from home again, converts whatever it touches into a goal, and that, at least for now, has not had any anxiety. for the Cup final that is on the horizon. The European perspective is much clearer now for the people of Bilbao, with their pursuers at a safe distance, and Atlético de Madrid, whom they already left out of the Cup, limping in the League.

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