Friendlies/Internationals/Liga strike roundupBy: Jack | March 30th, 2011
With the International break now over with it is a good time to roundup how our Leones got on, how the friendlies went and the latest on this weekend’s possible Liga strike.
First of all Mikel San José, Iker Muniain and future León Ander Herrera were called up to the Spanish U21s. None of them played in Spain’s first friendly against France but all three played in the 1-1 draw with Belarus, Muniain impressing as a half-time substitute.
Herrera and Muniain also got to practice their Pokemon skills.
Andoni Iraola, Javi Martínez and Fernando Llorente were called up to the senior squad, the first time a Spain squad featured three Leones since 2000. As with the U21s, none played in the first game (a home victory over Czech Republic) but all three featured in the 3-1 win in Lithuania with Llorente scoring one of the goals.
The rest of the players were still kept occupied though as Athletic had two friendlies organised.
The first was on Wednesday night against Alavés and featured mostly fringe players. Markel Suseata scored the only goal in a 1-0 win.
Then on Saturday the first team played against Celtic at San Mamés to raise money for the Bizkaia youth clubs.
There was a great atmosphere from the Athletic and Celtic fans (both during and before the game) and while it was a decent game it finished goalless.
As is customary to visiting captains on their team’s first visit to San Mamés, Anthony Stokes placed a wreath at Pichichi’s bust.
Raúl had a good game in goal and Díaz de Cerio got some much needed match practice. Youngsters Iker Guarrotxena and Galder Cerrajería both made their first team debuts as second half substitutes. Freddie Ljungberg featured for the visitors.
Basque ref Iturralde González also made himself popular with Celtic boss Neil Lennon….
And finally, there will be league action this weekend after all. The LFP was unhappy about a law that states that one Liga game a week must be shown on free TV and threatened to suspend this weekend’s matches. However 6 ‘rebel’ clubs (including Athletic) disagreed with this action and mounted a legal challenge which was upheld today by a Madrid court.
Athletic will therefore travel to Almería on Monday night.
The lineups for the two friendlies:
Alavés game: Raúl; De Marcos (Urko Vera 64), Ocio (Ustaritz 46), Amorebieta, Castillo (Balenziaga 64); Susaeta, Gurpegi (Orbaiz 46), Iturraspe, Gabilondo; Díaz de Cerio, Urko Vera (David López 46)
Celtic game: Raul; Ekiza, Ocio, Amorebieta (Guarrotxena 46), Castillo (Koikili 64); Gurpegi, Iturraspe, Orbaiz (Cerrajeria 64), Gabilondo (Balenziaga 46); Susaeta, Díaz de Cerio.