Monday, 17 October 2011

Athletic Bilbao 3 Osasuna 1

On the evidence of this performance, Athletic Bilbao will have no problem obtaining a top 4-5 finish this season. A great display of attacking football and an absolute masterclass from Iker Muniain. But, poor Osasuna. In the first half they could have been two or three up but for the performance of Gorka Iraizoz in goal who made several top class saves. Unfortunately for Osasuna, goals from Muniain, Igor Gabilondo and Javi Martinez ensured that they were found wanting, despite a late penalty from Javad Nekounam for a harsh handball decision against Javi Martinez.

An exciting end to end first half was followed by a second half where Osasuna didn't really turn up, their heads had dropped and they never really looked like getting back into the game. Bilbao were unlucky not to score more in the final 45 minutes, particularly Llorente  who led the line brilliantly just in front of an attacking midfield trio of Markel Susaeta, Muniain and De Marcos. Gabilondo came off at half time and was replaced by Autenetxe, pushing De Marcos into midfield from left back. This midfield trio was incredibly fluid throughout the second half with all three players taking turns in various positions, passing and moving like they'd never been the tough, physical side many pundits write them off as. Bielsa must have been ecstatic after their slightly shaky start to the season.

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