Athletic pardons Villarreal

Gerard Moreno put the yellows ahead but Berenguer tied before the break. The lions forgave a rival who paid the Europa League bill.

Athletic and Villarreal repeated the same production from the first round at La Cerámica. Tying to a goal that equals the golaveraje, encourages the Submarine in their search for Europe and slows down an Athletic who is unable to chain two wins this year, and we are in February, already well advanced. His triumphal shots lately are oriented towards the Super Cup and the Cup, and the League is in a corner, that of 'do not disturb'. He gave him for arguing but also for not finishing the plays well. The yellow ones started and finished better in San Mamés. And in the central part, the lions had more determination, but lacked the effectiveness of other afternoons with Marcelino. So the tie was fair.

There are times when the one who plays that the other does not show his virtues wins. Villarreal did it in the first 44 minutes. He dismantled what is known as 'Athletic de Marcelino', he left him without the answers that have led him to win the Super Cup and cast the letter for a second Cup final in a row. Very well instructed by Emery and his emissary Imanol Idiakez, since the hondarribitarra was sanctioned, the members of the Submarine set the pace in the first half, melted the lions and exiled the magical trident Muniain-Raúl-Williams. Tactically the yellow team was ten, very close together, well structured at the back and devilishly fast at the front. He subordinated the enemy to his mercy. First, when taking out the ball, he ordered calm, with parsimony and well played, cradling the football, and then he would set the alarm clock, unleashing himself when he approached the meteoric offensive triplet; from zero to one hundred in 60 meters. Pedraza unleashed his undisguised extreme soul. He had three speedy internships on a highway, because Berenguer left him without shackles by throwing himself in to breathe Parejo. One of those gallops led to 0-1, with Gerard Moreno coaxing the fourteenth goal this season in his 19th game. Dani García pulled away and Alcácer was positional offside, without any incident.

Athletic saw no way to get hooked on the debate inside. Muniain had barely appeared and began to track something around the periphery. In one of these, Iker hit it off with Yuri, who fired a strong shot into the area, in that damaging zone that announces goals. Williams brushed it and the visitor's rear in such a way that the ball went free to the far post. There Berenguer appeared, who went with everything, to sign his sixth goal of the year, the rojiblanco top scorer in the League.

The deluge was made on San Mamés after the rest. Athletic got stronger in the same way. He came out with the usual determination, adjusting the pressure very well, with the clock on time as in close matches. De Marcos, who broke into space several times, entered the area like a wild boar, but his soft shot when Pau Torres was thrown at him was caught by Asenjo. The numbers smiled at the locals: 10-3 in shots, 5-2 on goal and 3-1 on goal occasions in the 50th minute. But the ones that count are those listed above, on the scoreboard, and there was one to one. Gerard Moreno, undetectable to all rojiblanco radar, kept sliding between the lines and giving passes with the hat. Emery moved the 4-3-3- system more towards the 4-4-2 that Marcelino loves so much.

The Submarine no longer rested with the ball. His legs were heavy after the European bustle of Salzburg and he was beginning to feel uncomfortable. Trigueros and a harmless Alcácer gave way to Pino and Niño. Then Estupiñán, who joined his band with a Pedraza that went inside and left him on the side, because the Ecuadorian needs space, a take-off runway, something like three fields to develop his power. Fresh springs were needed. Athletic dominated but stunned in the final meters. He did not shoot on goal, and that is the first step if you want to score a goal. Williams had it in minute 74, with a sweet from the center of Berenguer, but it is already known that the headers are not his forte and a popcorn from Asenjo denied him the comeback. The yellow box was cloistered in its field, much demanded by a rival who celebrated having a clean week at the end to prepare a match. Villalibre emerged for the final sip to challenge Torres and Albiol, although this time the tuned note of his trumpet did not sound. By refreshing the team, the very ambitious Submarine even ended up becoming more present in the rival area than Athletic. But the tie remained as it was.

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