Friday, November 6, 2015

Athletic Bilbao - FK Partizan 5:1 (UEFA Europa League)

I start with a short intro, because there has been a turmoil around the football team since the beginning of the week. It accumulated for this half of the week and it definitely had an impact on this brutal meltdown in Bilbao.
It started with Milorad Vučelić heavily criticizing the football players in public for the weak performance. He said, the football players are like a bunch of autists, adding that they are to blame for everything. (You get it, he is the perfect politician, washing his hands, getting rid of responsibility - well, he does have routine.) A day later Ivica Iliev answered Vučelić (in public, of course) with a diplomatic touché, saying that critics are needed, but not in the style of an enraged elephant dashing into a china shop, especially not in the press.
After all these Andrija Živković’s father got fed up (what can I say, it’s totally understandable) and turned the table on Partizan’s management, saying that the current leadership is worse than the Đurić-era

isn’t he right?

and his son will not travel to Bilbao with the team. Živković jr. indeed wasn’t included in that group of players that went to Basque Country, what is more, if rumours are true, meanwhile he signed a five-year contract with Portuguese team Benfica, that is supposed to take effect in January 2016. (Benfica has dismissed these rumours though.)
The team didn’t include Brašanac (injured), Saša Ilić and Leković either.
There was full house in San Mamés stadium, with a very small group of Grave Diggers as well.

The truth is that after the starting whistle Partizan got stuck in their half, or rather, they seemed as if they don't want to get out of there. We got to Bilbao's penalty area some time in the 9th minute. We even got a corner kick, but defenders headed it out.
And... and we stayed on our half.
And we kept on passing the ball backwards.
We didn’t attack. We didn’t tear down the opponent like a roaring lion. As if we just wanted to somehow avoid any kind of confrontation.
We get the punishment for our non-attacking attitude. The Basque team took the lead in the 16th minute. Williams ran up in the middle, passing to Aduriz. Aduriz was wrestling with Subić, Partizan’s defender slid, Aduriz was all alone. He passed to Williams arriving out of the blue. Williams thanked and with a wide grin he kicked the ball into our net. 1:0
We didn’t have to wait too long for the equalizing goal. Right after the kickoff Grbić ran up on the right side and  passed to Aboubakar in the middle. The assistant didn’t wave offside, Aboubakar made a great solo, shot and scored. 1:1

Bilbao took back the lead in the 18th minute.
They attacked on the right side. The ball was sent to the middle, where Jevtović (if I could see it well...) kicked it out of the penalty area, right in front of a Basque player. He kicked it back to his tieammate inside the penalty area. This one dribbled a bit, then kicked the ball to Williams, who again appeared out of nowhere and who kicked the ball to the net, scoring his second goal. 2:1
In the 24th minute Williams again found himself all alone inside our penalty area

this kid was very dangerous, he was like quicksilver, very fast, always finding the ball and especially appearing out of nowhere

arriving from the left side, very fast and invisible. He shot, thankfully it was too high. In the meantime Balažic fell on the ground and he was taken off on a litter. He had so heavy pains that he couldn’t eve stand on his feet.

His ligament got most probably torn. It was just a bad movement while falling to the ground. There’s no info yet about how long his recovery will be.

In the 28th minute we made a counter-attack after a Bilbao-corner. Stevanović ran up on the left and passed to Aboubakar in the middle. Bilbao’s goalkeeper ran out of the goalmouth and kicked the ball back to our half before the Cameroonian player could have reached it.
Three minutes later Stevanović was wrestling for the ball with a player of the home team. Finally Subić got the ball and made an excellent pass to the middle, but Babović, who was arriving there, just missed it.
In the 36th minute Fabricio’s free kick flew out of the field, probably also of the stadium.
In the 39th minute Aduriz attacked all of a sudden. He was taken into a "sandwich" by two Partizan-defenders, then the Basque player fell to the ground, right inside our penalty area. The goalkeeper didn’t appreciate the trick, the home team got only a free kick from 17 metres instead of a penalty. Benat stood behind the ball and with a very cheeky movement he shot the ball in a way that it went almost round the wall, passed by the shocked Kljajić and fell into our net. 3:1
...and they attacked again right after the kickoff, on the right. The ball was passed to the middle, Kljajić had a great save.
The last action happened in the 45+1st minute, again Williams from the right side, passing the ball to the middle, someone headed it to the goal line, Kljajić saved.
In the second half we continued where we finished in the first half. We passed the ball backwards, our attacks - if there were any... - were blocked, or we simply lost the ball. That was what happened in the 51st minute, but then it was Fabricio who lost the ball and it all ended up in a dangerous goal attempt by Bilbao. For our great luck Williams was on offside, the referee whistled it off.
In the 53rd minute Bilbao got a free kick after Williams fell on the ground after clashing with Fabricio (the slow motion replay clearly showed that nothing happened, Williams was acting, but the referee believed him). They were 18 metres from our goal line. Benat kicked, Vulićević blocked it and we could start a counter-attack. Even though Bilbao’s defenders inactivated our attempt, it still almost ended with an own goal. Their defender wanted to pass the ball back to the goalkeeper, but Herrerin was out of the goalmouth, even of the penalty area and he had to do a very heavy sprint to save the ball from rolling through the goal line. (He did, approx. 5 cm before the goal line.)
In the 55th minute Bilbao got another free kick, 25 metres from the goal line, on the right. Benat kicked, Williams got it, even shot from a sharp angle, missing it barely.
Then nothing happened. Bilbao’s players were playing with the ball, we were watching them. We didn’t interfere in their play. Sometimes, very rarely we could touch the ball, but even then we just tried to kick it as far from our goal line as possible. No attack, no ideas, nothing. In the 69th minute Grbić finally got the ball and ran up on the right side. He wanted to pass it to Šaponjić, but Herrerin was faster.
Then in the 71st minute Bilbao got a free kick, 30 metres from our goal line, on the right. Aduriz stood behind the ball, he shot, right into the net. 4:1
From then on Bilbao played a training match with us. That’s the truth. The two teams were two totally different worlds. What is more, in the 81st minute Aduriz got a long pass from the half line, ran up, clashed with Kljajić (Partizan’s goalkeeper stayed on the ground), then passed to Elustondo, who had nothing else to do but walk in to the empty net with the ball. 5:1 Okay, everyone, let’s go home now.
Nothing ever happened in the rest of the game that is worth to mention.

No video highlights yet, because UEFA consists of elbow-sleeved officials who still haven’t uploaded any videos to Youtube about this round.


Venue: San Mamés Stadium, Bilbao, Spain
Number of spectators: 40 000
Referee: Michael Koukoulakis (assistants: Alexandros Grevenis, Chrysoula Kourompylia - 4th assistant: Christos Baltas - goal line assistants: Charalambos Kalogeropoulos, Andreas Pappas) - GRE

Athletic Bilbao: Herrerin - Boveda, Etxeita, Laporte, Balenziaga - Benat (Elustondo, 73.), San José - Williams (de Marcos, 63.), García (Eraso, 66.), Susaeta - Aduriz
Head coach: Ernesto Valverde

FK Partizan: Kljajić - Vulićević, Balažic (Ćirković, 26.), Fabricio, Subić - Jevtović - Aboubakar (Šaponjić, 46.), Babović, Lukić, Stevanović (Ninković, 73.) - Grbić
Head coach: Ljubinko Drulović

Goal scorers: Williams (15.), Aboubakar (17.), Williams (18.), Benat (39.), Aduriz (71.), Elustondo (81.)
Yellow card: Jevtović (49.), Fabricio (53.), Vulićević (55.)

Current standing of Group L:
Athletic Bilbao 9 points
Augsburg 6 points
Partizan 6 points
AZ Alkmaar 3 points

(photos: Facebook/Fudbalski klub Partizan)

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