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Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Muniain and Costa net in stalemate

Daniel Orme in Editorial, General Soccer News, La Liga 14 Jun 2020

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Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao claimed a point each upon their La Liga returns in a 1-1 draw at the San Mames on Sunday afternoon.

Athletic captain Iker Muniain gave the hosts a deserved lead on 37 minutes with a brilliant finish from inside the box but the visitors were level just a couple of minutes later as Diego Costa broke his duck with an ice-cool finish. Both sides pushed for a winning goal in the second-half but neither quite had enough as it ended level in the Basque Country.

Oblak keeps Atleti level

In a somewhat unconventional move by Diego Simeone, he elected to play Marcos Llorente as a striker from the off as opposed to his usual midfield role. That nearly payed dividends straight away as he found Yannick Carrasco with a brilliant through-ball but the latter rolled the ball just wide of the post when presented with Unai Simon one-on-one.

Despite the visitors’ early opportunity, Athletic Club slowly but surely became the dominant side throughout the first-half, with the inspirational Jan Oblak proving the only barrier between them and an opener. First, Inaki Williams managed to get to Ander Capa’s great cross, but the goalkeeper managed to collect his headed effort.

The Slovenian then produced another brilliant stop as Muniain’s driven ball was flicked on by Yeray Alvarez and looked to be nestling into the far corner of the net. Somehow, the Atleti keeper managed to leap across his line and parry the ball away.

Goals before the break

Their constant pressure did eventually pay though as Muniain grasped a deserved lead for Los Leones. Yuri Berchiche had plenty of room on the left-flank to square the ball to his captain, with Spaniard scoring via a brilliant outside-of-the-boot finish.

Atletico responded in earnest to head into the break level though. With centre-back Alvarez out of position, Koke was able to prod the ball through to Costa, who stayed onside and coolly finished into the bottom corner for just his third Lal Liga goal of the season.

Visitors denied late on

There was a real lack of chances in the second-half, with the majority of play occurring in the midfield. Substitute Santiago Arias did have a wonderful chance as he profited from a mistake from Unai Simon late on but the goalkeeper recovered to save well. Another man introduced off of the bench, Angel Correa, also set his sights on a winner in stoppage time but dragged a disappointing effort wide of goal as both sides claimed a point upon their respective returns to action.

Final Thoughts

On reflection, a draw was probably a fair result today. Both sides had periods of dominance throughout the game but there was a severe lack of real, clear-cut chances from either. The stalemate now leaves Atleti in sixth, just a point behind fourth-placed Sociedad, meanwhile Athletic sit in tenth.

Match Report

Athletic Bilbao: Simon (7); Berchiche (6) (Nunez (N/A), 83′), Martinez (6), Álvarez (6), Capa (6); Lopez (6) (Arruti (5), 63′), Carrillo (6); Cordoba (6) (Sancet (6), 63′), Muniain (7) (De Marcos (N/A), 83′), Garcia (7); Williams (7) (Kodro (N/A), 90+1′).

Atletico Madrid: Oblak (8); Lodi (6), Gimenez (7), Savic (6), Trippier (6) (Arias (6), 63′); Carrasco (6) (Lemar (5), 63′), Saul (6), Thomas (6), Koke (7) (Herrera (N/A), 78′); Costa (7) (Morata (6), 63′), Llorente (6) (Correa (6), 68′).

 Goals: Muniain (37′), Costa (39′)

Referee: Jose Luis Gonzalez Gonzalez

Yellow Cards: Muniain (6′), Williams (45+1′), Martinez (84′), Garitano (90+4′)

Red Cards: N/A

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Daniel Orme


Daniel is a football journalism graduate from the University of Derby. He has been freelance writing for approximately six years now and brings considerable experience. A season ticket holder at local club Leicester City, he witnessed the Foxes miraculously lifting the Premier League trophy in the 2015/16 campaign.

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