Athletic Bilbao maintained their recent revival as veteran striker Aritz Aduriz continued his superb campaign with a brace in the comfortable 3-0 victory over Sporting Gijon in La Liga.
Ernesto Valverde’s team lost four of their opening five league games this term but are now unbeaten in four matches across all competitions, winning three.
Valverde identified Sporting’s on-loan Barcelona forward Alen Halilovic as the visitors’ main threat ahead of the contest and his words almost proved prophetic when the 19-year-old whipped a shot narrowly wide from the edge of the area after in the 16th minute.
But Athletic went ahead in some style before the half-hour – Raul Garcia feeding the excellent Inaki Williams, whose low cross was met by Markel Susaeta to crown a wonderful team move.
Williams saw his header clawed out of the bottom right corner by Gijon goalkeeper Alberto Garcia and the winger continued to torment the visitors when Omar Mascarell brought him down in the box five minutes before half-time.
Aduriz saw Garcia guess correctly to keep out his spot-kick but the striker emphatically slammed home the rebound.
It was 3-0 midway through the second half as Aduriz collected Benat’s pass to coolly slot past Garcia for a 14th goal in as many appearances this season.
Athletic move up to 12th on 11 points, two better off that fourth-bottom Sporting, who are three points clear of the drop zone.