There is no way to break the Spanish-born curse this season at RCDE Stadium, a field that has become a psychological slab where this Saturday it was not able to add the first triumph. This time it was a solid Athletic (1-1) who scratched a point in the Spanish national team in a match that left a more bitter and sweet aftertaste by a Spaniard than expected more. Only from the goal of the cornered Raúl de Tomás in the second half, the team of Abelardo has believed in its possibilities and has done merit in achieving something more. Third consecutive day adding by a Spaniard to play at home continues to cloud it. The white-and-blue will surpass Sporting de Gijón of the 1997-1998 school year as the team that will take longer to win the first victory at their stadium.
The Spaniard was prepared to extend the good dynamic started with Abelardo Fernández, but quickly realized that, placidly, the visit to the Athletic Club would have nothing. Protected by a strong defense of five, with three rocky centerpieces, two powerful sides and, in front, three midfielders, the whole of Gaizka Garitano has grown strong in its own field with a very solid approach and few cracks. It didn’t take long for the Blues to figure out how Yuri and Capa’s presence in the lanes would be a big deal, especially with two bands protected by Víctor Sánchez, who was sanctioned by Javi López, and Dídac. Both Spaniards on both sides have been increasingly demanding and surpassed by the physical strength of the lanes of an Athletic that has generated superiority on the sides, taking advantage that neither Melendo nor Darder accompanied them.
From the outset, Athletic detected the main weakness in Spain. An Espanyol did not do the same but, with the ball on his feet, he was not comfortable in the first half. Inside, David López and Marc Roca were closed by the visiting trivot, while when responsibility came to players who acted from the outside, especially Dídac and Víctor Sánchez, the team suffered in the form of numerous and dangerous losses in own field. In an action poorly defended by Rubí’s, Athletic opened the can in a corner where Garitano’s slate drew oil. Villalibre has punished the white-and-blue defensive disorder.
The visiting goal early in the day was a painful and unexpected blow for a Spaniard who was just beginning to discover the defensive features of a Cabrera, who, during the first minutes as a white-and-blue, was quite forceful at the time of refuse above and below. The Uruguayan also took part in the start from behind, looking for long journeys directly to the two ends, which had suffered a lot in the hand-to-hand battles with the Basque centers. Cabrera, however, was not enough to control all the offensive power of Athletic, who knew how to interrupt the game when it was time to cut the tempo in attack of Abelardo’s.
Espanyol, at times, has recovered the worst vices of the stages experienced with David Gallego and Pablo Machín. Excessive losses, one-hole defense and too long a team with two strikers disconnected. The best thing for the white-and-blue has been the lack of success of Athletic with 0-1. Because Yuri, with two very dangerous arrivals, could have originated the second. He first encountered the post and Diego López. Afterwards Williams has not succeeded in ending his death pass. Espanyol, helpless, thanked the arrival of the break. The beginning of the resumption did not change the script, as the Spanish inaccuracies had followed and the Athletic maintained the threat in counterattacks and actions in stopped ball.
From Tomás, the only threat to Athletic
With the scoreboard open, however, anything could happen, as it ended up happening. Espanyol, unable to make football, found a prize in a move hung in the pot that Calleri combed and that Raúl de Tomás, attentive, finished with a strong shot from inside the area. The draw from Madrid has awakened RCDE Stadium, which once again shouts with “ Yes you can!“Third goal in three games of a forward who continues to justify why he is the most expensive in Spanish history. In the first half, he had already shown in isolation some doses of a talent that the spectators of RCDE Stadium enjoyed for the first time. An out-of-area smart forward, technically very gifted, who knows how to make occasions out of nowhere and has a very fine-tuned sense of smell inside the area.
The 1-1 came shortly after Abelardo shook the team with two changes. The first, embarrassed by Melendo, to try to find a natural band profile. The second, Lluís by a misguided Victor Sánchez. Espanyol have managed to get into the game but have never been able to control the game or overcome a very consistent defense. Athletic have never lost order, and when they have been able to try to surprise by very dangerous counterattacks. Espanyol, aware of the need for victory, tried harder in a crazy final stretch in which Wu Lei had the second of a few seconds after entering the field. The Chinese also had a 2-1 lead in a Darder cross, plus Yeray providentally avoided. Espanyol woke up in the last minutes, but the white-blue reaction was too late and not enough to break a second wall of impregnable. It is the fifth point in three days with Abelardo, but he leaves a bittersweet aftertaste after a game in which Espanyol leaves with the feeling that he should have woken up much earlier.