Athletic lived its first great night of 2022 last Thursday. The lions, who in the new year add three wins in as many competitions plus Gasteiz’s league tie, took the path of comeback to knock out Atlético de Madrid. The ability of the lions to react against the always complicated mattress team was caused by the changes of Marcelino and the participation, above all, of Nico Williams.
The youngest of the two brothers who are at the forefront of Marcelino’s team was decisive. From his band the plays were born that caused the two corners that allowed Yeray first and then himself to beat the always huge Oblak. The Navarrese signed in Saudi Arabia the third of the seven goals that Athletic has scored in the new year. Sancet also has three more goals, the three from El Sadar, and Yeray completes the list of Atletico strikers in the new year.
The goal by the Athletic defender was clearly significant. His powerful header from Muniain’s corner kick was a mixture of suppressed rage and the desire to make up for the silly move that had allowed Atlético to take the lead on the scoreboard. The right-handed center back went for it all until he finished off with a header as the canons dictate. His celebration made clear the weight that had been lifted.
Muniain’s set piece
The captain also had a lot to do with Athletic’s comeback. The Navarrese, in the manner and manner of what has been happening in some games to this part, did not stop trying starting from his left wing to the center and even the right. Muniain never hides, he always offers to receive and drive the ball and never stops trying to combine or supply passes of all kinds to his teammates. He does not stop risking, although, logically, some of his attempts die in the effort.
The stopped ball is another of his great virtues since Marcelino took over the management of the Bilbao team. In the last edition of the Super Cup, practically all of the lions’ assists came out of his boots. In Riyadh, three quarters of the same thing has already happened again.
The tie at one came from a corner kick by the Navarrese in which Yeray completed the task. The 1-2 play was more or less traced, with Athletic’s central defenders looking for the ball from the corner, only this time Atlético’s defense managed to clear it. Nico Williams, yes, was the recipient of the leather and with a subtle cross shot with the left from inside the rival area he sealed the victory and the consequent pass to tomorrow’s final against Real Madrid.
For the lions, seen what has been seen, it was very good for Atlético to score with half an hour to go in the game. Until then they had prioritized the defensive aspect over the offensive. Something logical considering the disposition and entity of the rival.
Then, with everything lost, came the bugle call. First from the bench with the making of three changes at the same time and then at grass level with a disheveled Athletic in pursuit of the comeback. Marcelino must have seen it so badly that at one point he also resorted to the services of Yuri, who hadn’t competed in nearly nine months. The bet, it is true, came out the winner.