August 6th of 2023
The final pre-season test before next Saturday’s La Liga opening day against Real Madrid CF at San Mamés ended in a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Dublin’s Aviva Stadium.
The game started with a scare for the Lions. A pass from Peristri sent Sancho right in front of Unai Simon, but the Murgia goalkeeper reacted with a spectacular foot intervention. After the Red Devils arrived a few more games, the Lions countered a rebound from the England defense with a transition finished with a header by Inaki Williams. In one of Athletic’s many attacking actions in the first half, the referee initially signaled for a penalty to Nico Williams, but Nico Williams quickly launched an attack outside the area with millimeter observations. Finally, Reque’s shot was caught by the Red Devils goalkeeper.
The rival field’s speed in the three quarters reappeared in a combination that allowed Athletic to take the lead. Half an hour into the match, a Lucue steal landed at Sunset’s feet and the Mendiloli player channeled the ball into Nico Williams to beat Heaton. The England international looked for van de Beek several times from the second row, but failed to cause the Basque defense to worry too much before the break.
After the break, Villalibre came on for Nico Williams and Iñaki Williams moved to the right flank. The first attempt was made by a young Daniel Gore, but was successfully saved by Simon. After several red-white approaches, Aitor Paredes was sent off in the 66th minute after grabbing Hannibal for a one-on-one with the red-white goalkeeper.
It was time to paddle one man down, but the Athletic remained solid with clear attacking options. Muniain’s shot, for example, went off target. Ten Haag’s side also had an opportunity to equalize at Hannibal’s feet. Valverde also brought in Nolas Coaine, Immanol and former fan-praised Ander Herrera in the second half.
Faced with the pressure of the Manchesteria team, the Lions defended themselves like pissed off cats. And so until stoppage time, when the striker-turned-Maguire’s extra-time effort found Uruguay’s Perrist to equalize.
Thus ended a game that capped off a fierce and global pre-season for Logiblanca with a one-goal draw. Now all eyes and energy are on the league premiere at La Catedral this Saturday.