Athletic unable to find a way past Valencia as old ghosts haunt San Mames

Athletic Club 0-0 Valencia

Win, draw or lose, sometimes it feels as if Athletic Club are doomed to repeat the same match again and again this season. Unfortunately for them, it was their issues finding the back of the net that meant this was a draw rather than a win.

To be just, Giorgi Mamardashvili did come up with several heroics for Valencia. The first half was narrowly edged by the home side, as they showed a little more protagonism. A sloppy stop from the Georgian goalkeeper allowed Raul Garcia to get another shot off, but Mamardashvili would redeem himself for the rest of the match and more. A big boot of his got in the way of the first of many Inaki Williams efforts one-on-one shortly after.

At the start of the second half Valencia showed some purpose and put Athletic under a brief spell of pressure, but as the game entered the final third, Athletic would spend most of it in Valencia’s.

The big issue, as it has been all season, was finishing. Several times Inaki made his way in behind, showing brilliant approach play at times, but unable to beat Mamardashvili, who was elastic in goal. Only a Goncalo Guedes effort from distance made Unai Simon dive at the other end.

It was not just Inaki either. Nico Williams couldn’t find him free in the box, while Mikel Vesga was alone from a set piece, but couldn’t locate the target with his header. With seven minutes of stoppage time, the match felt like it was building to a climax as Athletic came gradually closer. Hugo Guillamon was dismissed for a second yellow (stopping a Valencia counter), before Asier Villalibre smacked the post.

Only the goal was missing, but it was enough to leave San Mames disgruntled with the anti-climactic ending. Valencia gained a clean sheet and a point, but little else, while Athletic were left to lament the same issues that have held them back all season. The point does take them into seventh, but Villarreal can retake the Conference League spot tomorrow.

Tags Athletic Club La Liga Valencia
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