Zaragoza 2 Athletic 0: The weakened Lions limp to defeatBy: Jack | April 29th, 2012
A much changed side put in a tame performance.
After the unforgettable night at San Mamés on Thursday, Bielsa rested several first team players with Amorebieta, Javi Martínez, Aurtenetxe, Muniain, Susaeta and Llorente all sitting out. Iñigo Perez filled in at left-back, Ibai kept his place in midfield and Igor Gabilondo started his first game for four months.
Athletic started the better side and tested Roberto with two well struck early free-kicks. Zaragoza got into the game though and soon after Helder Postiga hit the post they took the lead. Edu Oriol took the ball from just inside Athletic’s half and kept running, going past two defenders before finishing it off coolly.
Five minutes before half-time De Marcos had a shot cleared off the line but going into the break it remained 1-0. Bielsa made a change – bringing Susaeta on – but within six minutes Zaragoza had a second. A low struck long-range free-kick should have been dealt with easily by Gorka but the experienced goalkeeper let the ball past him.
Both Muniain and Llorente entered in an attempt to rescue the game but the rather average performance continued and were it not for Gorka Zaragoza could have had more.
Athletic move down one place to 7th and the faint Champions League dream is all but gone now. Making changes after the semi-final was not an unwise choice, but surprising as Bielsa almost always keeps the same starting eleven. I did expect the side chosen to play better, especially as they have something to prove, but it does appear show the lack of depth in the squad. Next up is Real Madrid at San Mamés on Wednesday.