It seemed that the one in San Mamés was going to be a strong coffee game, a ristretto of the kind that leaves two nights without sleep, but with so much water that fell on Bilbao since mid-afternoon, it ended up becoming an American coffee, long and smooth. The two teams tied on merits and repeated the score from the first round.
While in the box smiles were distributed after the approval of the budgets to the second, despite the censure of the performance of the board, on the field there were moments of frowns in the first half, when Athletic did not come out nothing and everything to Villarreal. That all and that nothing were relative, of course, because Athletic’s nothing and Villarreal’s everything were practically the same. One chance to score was enough for Emery’s team, buried in the stands by his suspension, to get ahead on the scoreboard after a slalom by Pedraza, the second, which Gerard took advantage of, always opportune, after the rebound. Athletic had thrown more on Asenjo’s goal, but without too much shaft, but he was suffering on the pitch with a Villarreal who covered gaps and watched the game from the sofa, without taking risks.
Of course, Athletic cannot be given too much rope, because it can be clumsy and misguided, but it does not give in, and when the break knocked on the doors, Yuri put a horizontal ball into the small area, Williams touched in the direction of the goal and appeared Berenguer there to score his third goal in two days, and become the highest and unexpected scorer for Bilbao.
Athletic took the initiative after the break, Villarreal entrusted in some lethal counter, but the yellow’s legs were heavy after the European Thursday. It could come, but more because of other people’s awkwardness than its own merits. The team from Bilbao loaded the coffee machine, a good decision on such an inhospitable night and they squeezed their rival in the vicinity of their area, with the bands more operational than at the beginning.
It generated a feeling of danger and forced Asenjo in a cross shot from Berenguer and another from Williams from close range. With Muniain more active, Athletic gained weight, but Villarreal defended well, which with the changes in the final minutes cooled off and allowed themselves the luxury of pressing something else, not too much, to at least shake off their dominance. He did not give for more.