How much football has changed since the days when Athletic feared visits to the old Altabix, where there was always a leathery rival and a pitch hard as a road, but with worse asphalt. Now everything is very different, but beating Elche is still a complicated exercise. That is why the zero tie is not a bad result for either team. With several first-team debutants, Marcelino is making good progress with his work and Fran Escribá, who already saved the Elche team in a frenzied League final a few months ago, seems to have put his stamp on Martínez Valero.
Muniain had to choose a field and stole his lifelong goal from Elche. All of Athletic wanted to steal it, that was Marcelino’s plan, and it went well for him in the first minutes in which he also kept the ball. It is true that in the statistics there is a stoppage of the debutant Agirrezabala, but Bigas was offside and the goal would not have been.
Athletic stole, but gave it away later, always on the edge of the area, where it got tangled between speed and precipitation. In all the actions, the rojiblancos had a cross, unlike in the field draw, and Elche, which was well protected, despite the burden of four consecutive corners against, tried to make everything easier. It was enough for him to run, especially on his right wing, in which Mojica was a rocket, to disturb Athletic’s rear, while Verdú gave Vivian, a 22-year-old central defender, an accelerated First Division master’s degree. debuted and he learned his lesson right away.
There were no goals, but there was plenty of verve. On both sides, although while Elche was focusing more on their work, Athletic dispersed somewhat. The party leaned slightly towards Escribá’s team. Milla had a good chance, two meters from the goal, but the ball was left behind. It was Elche’s best, which Athletic replied with a shot from outside the area by Balenziaga that Casilla deflected to a corner.
The first half was entertaining, but the second half woke up thick, with fog in the eyes of the footballers, and not even the wind from the refreshment players managed to dissipate it. Elche had the ball more, but without chicha, and Athletic tried, at times, to recover it and stretch towards Williams, but the forward was not there or expected, so Berenguer’s efforts were wasted. A center of his that Dani García finished badly, was the most diaphanous Bilbao opportunity. Elche didn’t have much else either. In fact, the only one he had was in discount, after a mistake by Lekue that left the ball free to Morente, who shot hard for Agirrezabala to complete his good debut with a magnificent save.
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