Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Real Madrid: 5 Talking Points
Athletic Bilbao have a reputaion for being one of the toughest fixtures in La Liga, and the trip to the new San Mames in Basque country has always been viewed with trepidation. Real Madrid, in the absence of captian Sergio Ramos as well as Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, thus passed the first real test of the Rafa Benitez era, earning a 2-1 victory over the Basque outfit. Karim Benzema struck a double either side of an Athletic equaliser to secure all three points for Los Blancos as they took full advantage of Barca’s shock slip up to Celta de Vigo to go to the top of the La Liga table. On the other hand, Athletic languish near the bottom with just 3 points in their 5 games, having lost four.We take a look at 5 things learnt from the intense 90 minutes of action at San Mames.
#1 You just can\'t play a blind back pass
Athletic were holding up well in the first half, matching Real Madrid for their intensity in the game. And the fact that Madrid had already wasted a glut of chances in front of goal really wasn’t helping with the confidence levels of the Blancos strikers.
But as is often true in football, a lifetime of brilliance can be undone by just a moment of carelessness. A short goal-kick from Iraizoz, who had had a brillinat evening otherwise, keeping out everything thrown his way, saw defender San Jose play a weak back pass.
The defender didn’t notice Benzema who was lurking behind and the Frenchman didnt get where is today by being slack. Full credit to Benzema for remaining alert and sneaking in to poke home one of the easiest goals of his career.
The role of Iraizoz in the build-up to the goal too is questionable. Yes, the pass was underhit and probably should not have ben hit at all. But the Basque Goalkeeper, who had to fully commit himself and be strong in the challenge to clear the ball, instead was tipping on his heels, tentatively prodding a leg at the ball while a clinical Benzema poked home.
You just don’t hand Real Madrid such chances.