Levante 3 Athletic 0: League campaign ends in a whimperBy: Jack | May 13th, 2012
Athletic finish 10th.
With league form sacrificed for the two cup runs, our final position wasn’t going to matter much this season but the defeat is still disappointing. Since that memorable night against Sporting we’ve failed to win or even score and only avoided defeat once in five games.
Athletic started today’s game at Levante okay, a close and quite open first half saw both sides created chances but neither truly tested the opposition keepers. Just before half-time though Gorka made a rash decision to come out and was lobbed by Abdelkader Ghezzal.
Other results were still in Athletic’s favour though and comeback would seal 6th place. Bielsa threw on Llorente and Javi Martínez and half-time, who were both rested from the start, but little changed.
The hosts missed a great chance to double their lead but soon got their second midway through the second half. Ghezzal again got himself on the scoresheet after some slack defending let Barkero pick out the forward.
The victory – and Levante’s unlikely place in Europe – was confirmed in the dying moments. Amorebieta handled in the box and former Champions League finalist Javier Farinós tucked in the penalty.
This performance, and our recent form, is hardly ideal preparation for the Copa del Rey final in two weeks time but that is a one-off match and will be decided by what happens on the day. Qualifying through the cup as opposed to the league means starting in an earlier round, but if we are hoping for another cup run it shouldn’t be something we are scared of. (Plus, it didn’t do Atléti much harm…)
Meanwhile in La Liga, late goals against Villarreal and for Rayo saw the Yellow Submarine relegated. Clemente’s Sporting also went down with Zaragoza (who seemingly looked doomed a month ago) completing an incredible escape. Another ex-boss, Jokin Caparros, saw his Mallorca side miss out on a European place after a 4-1 defeat in the Bernabeu.