Athletic only competed face to face against Real during the first half of the Cup final played last Saturday at the La Cartuja Stadium. The lions suffered a kind of general blockage after half-time. The two controversial plays in which Iñigo Martínez was involved took the rojiblancos out of the match. The good approach and the best execution of the Imanol team, too.
The rojiblancos continue to suffer more than necessary when they have to build against a withdrawn team. Marcelino, in the manner and manner of what happened to Gaizka Garitano during his stay on the rojiblanco bench, has not just found a double pivot with sufficient guarantees to enjoy continuity from one game to another. Variations in the central tandem of the mean are a constant.
On Saturday in Seville, in fact, the Asturian coach changed the two starters of the league match just before against Eibar in San Mamés. Unai López, who made a rude mistake on the play that allowed Kike García to be tied, this time stayed on the bench. Vesga, his companion in front of the gunsmiths in that same area of the field, too.
Vencedor and Dani García thus enjoyed the opportunity to form in the starting team in this final against the San Sebastian. Both had their zone controlled during the first half. Silva, in fact, barely appeared in spike zones.
The fast defense-attack transitions that Marcelino likes so much were at all times well blocked by Imanol and his team. The Real players had no major qualms when it came to forcing the foul when a lion tried to receive from behind to turn and deliver the ball. The referee did not quite realize the situation generated by these tactical fouls.
The statistics of the match speak of a 42.3% possession of Athletic, of 200 good passes compared to the 345 of his rival and of 22 fouls received and 15 made. Another curious fact about this final is that Unai Simón did not have to make any stops and Remiro only two. The rojiblancos finished off, therefore, twice between the three sticks and their rival only once: that of Oyarzabal’s penalty goal.
The strategy, which gave the Bilbao team so much joy during the first matches with Marcelino on the bench, is no longer a solution to the problems with the Lions’ goal. Muniain is not on a roll. The rest of his classmates, neither. Athletic beat Real in the corner kicks (4-1), but the Donostia containment system in the strategy worked effectively.