Valencia 1 – Athletic 1: Should’ve Been Three Points…By: Paul | October 23rd, 2011
Earlier today (or yesterday, depending on where you are in the world) Athletic traveled to Mestalla and came away with a single point against Valencia. While a point on the road is nothing to complain about, it was still a match that Los Leones could have and probably should have won.
Things started off bright for Valencia. Only thirty seconds into the game, Ever Banega took what looked to be a good chance, and then his teammates failed to capitalize on the subsequent corner. Valencia had a few other chances less than ten minutes into the match and Athletic didn’t appear to be able to get a sniff of the ball. However, when Athletic were on the ball, they seemed much more confident and their play just looked sharper. Markel Susaeta had a goal disallowed for being offside, then Fernando Llorente had a great chance about 36 minutes in, but his header hit the woodwork. At half-time, Athletic did not have as much possession or shots, but, again, looked to have more overall quality than Valencia.
At half-time, an apparently injured Llorente was replaced by Toquero (no word on his condition yet). Valencia again had a chance to go ahead early on in the half, but a long shot from Jonas (after a mistake from Gorka) was directed away by the post. Iker Muniain had looked very energetic both on and off the ball all night, and his hard work finally paid off in the 72nd minute with a beautiful shot from the right wing. Not much later, Muniain took another good effort which bounced off of the opposing goalkeeper.
With time running out and quality still poor, Valencia pushed the attack, but never looked to be a real threat. Then, in the 89th minute, Roberto Soldado scored an equalizer. Athletic had a chance to score in stoppage- Iker Muniain delivered an on-target cross from the right toward Toquero, who was pushed in the box. A penalty probably could have been given, but the referee may not have seen the incident.
Overall, an entertaining game. While Athletic probably should have won, I personally am content with a point for now.
Next up, Athletic return home to host Atletico Madrid this coming Thursday, before a road trip to Sporting three days later.