Garitano has more lives than a cat. He is an eternal survivor. It has been questioned since the prehistory of the summer of 2020, but there he continues, taking pages out of the calendar in search of the Cup final that should have been played last April. Before the lowered Betis knew how to jam the guillotine. With Huesca, destiny changed. And before Elche, under the universal flood, he earned another extra life. He seems immortal, and now the great Miuras are coming: Barça, Atlético, La Supercopa… If there is a 'match ball', the game, set, match, championship and even the Olympic Games always fall on his side. Come and see.
The 1-0 is more than fair. In general terms, the Garitano team shed its fears, had a handful of counterattacks that could put it back in the final stretch and suffered, but the three points are gold. The level that the lions had given against Huesca and La Real in previous appearances at home was so low that it was necessary to set the bar a foot above the ground to improve those performances. There was more effectiveness than confetti, although it is true that Unai Simón, that guardian of the national team's door that one good year was preparing to play for Elche and all changes due to Arrizabalaga's departure, was a mere spectator for a long time.
At the beginning, the Bilbao players pressed very high, they started with some blood, although Elche chose to go out with the ball played and had great dexterity. In a corner, Íñigo Martinez twisted his ankle but this, like Ramos, was only taken out of a field on a stretcher. Garitano arranged the top three, the ends and the nine, on the inside and alternating when occupying the spaces, to fix the sides on the inside and await the appearance of De Marcos breaking into the free space. Sánchez Miño spent a midday that he would not recommend even to his greatest enemy. The idea among the locals was to do the same on the other side, the southpaw, but Yuri was very low, quite standing, far from the offensive front.
The rojiblancos started well but as the minutes passed, they were maneuvering further away from the franjiverde goal. Elche does not have a fang, in three quarters of the field it is clogged, that is why it had not won for two months, although its draw against Madrid wrapped it in a cloud. He missed the Milla-Boyé society. When Athletic was deflating, the goal came. In the 25th minute, Williams yielded to De Marcos, who rushed the baseline again and put it perfect for Muniain, to gain the space in the center very well and hook it against the passivity of the visitor. It sounded like old rockers playing the guitar, Muniain-De Marcos, ode to old concerts. Laguardia's side was omnipresent, even in a rogue throw-in that caught Sánchez Miño and almost prepared it.
Muñoz, or what is the same Almirón since his confinement in Elche, opted for three changes at halftime with a high offensive character. Boyé, Víctor Rodríguez and Josan entered. Any change in the script detracts from this Athletic who has an alarming lack of confidence. I no longer had the energy of the first half. Boyé himself, who is better related to leather than Carrillo, found himself strangely alone against Unai Simón after a local defensive failure and was due to see so strange that it took a couple of chapters to decide. At least the lions, heartbroken after two silly misses, got a bit loose with several cons. In one of them Berenguer served Raúl García, who scored a goal, but was annulled for the winger's initial offside. Barragan was cunningly nailed to provoke him. Then Muniain filtered another great pass, superb this day at lunchtime, to a Williams that he could not define.
Morente injured his hamstrings and had to make way for Rigoni. Garitano put cement with Dani García, to form a wall with Vesga. Williams put in a thread that went to the crosshead. A crack play. The poor man is still denied. It would have been historic to see Iñaki score a goal while standing. At that stage of the game, the Atheltic had taken a step forward, was not so shaky, and was already clearly dominating. But he did not have the 2-0 in his pocket and Elche seemed crouched in search of the prey, as in a precious pass from Fidel to the soul of the area. Athletic forgave and forgave, like Yuri's occasion in 85 ', in which he got drunk on the ball when he had only Villalibre. And the major scare came: De Marcos took it close to Rigoni after outwitting the goalkeeper when the ball slipped. Muñoz put Nino, living history of Spanish football in this San Mamés that mourns the retirement of Aduriz. Not even with eleven children that would have changed.
Lucas Boyé (45 ', Guido Carrillo), Josan (45 ', Pere Milla), Victor rodriguez (45 ', Juan Sánchez Miño), Ohian tirapu (65 ', Berenguer), Dani Garcia (65 ', Unai Winner), Emiliano Rigoni (65 ', Tete Morente), Child (77 ', José Raúl Gutiérrez), Lekue (81 ', Muniain), Villalibre (81 ', Williams)
Referee: Mario Melero López
VAR Referee: Santiago Jaime Latre
Unai Victor (35 ', Yellow) Barragan (43 ', Yellow) Yuri (49 ', Yellow