Athletic Bilbao got their Europa League campaign off to a shaky start on Thursday, as they could only draw 1-1 with Hapoel Kiryat Shmona.
An early goal at San Mames from Adrian Rochet was cancelled out by Markel Susaeta, but Los Leones were made to rue a host of missed chances against the Israeli champions.
Marcelo Bielsa's side came out of the blocks the brighter of the two teams, and very nearly opened the scoring within six minutes. Oscar De Marcos, cutting in from the right, struck a sweet effort from the edge of the area, only to see Daniel Amos save well.
That early pressing, though, counted for nothing with a quarter of the first half gone. A Rochet shot from 25 yards out came off the back Laszlo Lencse, and ricocheted into the back of the net to give the Israeli side the lead.
Athletic were still dominating possession and chances created, but were to blame for a lack of clinical finishing. Xabi Castillo headed over from eight yards with the goal gaping, and it wasn't until the 40th minute that the Spanish side finally equalised.
A cross from Ismael Lopez on the left, went all the way across goal to Susaeta, who blasted it back into the bottom left-hand corner to make it 1-1.
Gili Landau's side were still on the back-foot come the second half, and should have been behind on 50 minutes. A cross from Iker Muniain found Fernando Llorente, who's header from 12 yards clipped the bar.
The Spain international continued to squander opportunities, and should have secured the three points on 81 minutes. A cross from the left by De Marcos went to the head of the 27-year-old striker, who could only watch as the goalkeeper made a remarkable save high to his right and earn a hard-fought draw.
Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Hapoel Kiryat Shmona
Scorers: Rochet 14 (HKS); Susaeta 40 (AB)
Athletic Bilbao: Gorka Iraizoz; Iraola, Gurpegi, Amorebieta, Castillo (Ruiz De Galarreta 81); Muniain, Iturraspe, De Marcos; Susaeta, Aritz Aduriz (Ibai Gomez 59), Ismael Lopez (Llorente 45)
H. Kiryat Shmona: Amos; Gabai, Tzedek, Hasarma, Matovic; Rochet (Elisha 74), Gazal; Tasevski, Einbinder (Vahaba 90); Abuhazira (Porokara 80), Lencse.
Ref: Simon Evans (WAL)
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