March 2, 2013
Iraizoz rises to the occasion
Athletic Bilbao earned a much-needed 1-0 victory over local rivals Osasuna at the Reyno de Navarra stadium to move six points clear of the relegation zone.
A volleyed goal by Markel Susaeta midway through the second half was enough to give Marcelo Bielsa's side the three points, but the Navarrans were superior for large periods of the match.
With the exception of the absence of the suspended Iker Muniain, the main change in Bielsa's starting line up from the side that lost to Real Sociedad last weekend was the return of veteran goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz, who was preferred to Raul Fernandez after spending the last two matches on the substitutes bench.
The Argentinian coach's decision paid off, as Iraizoz pulled off a number of outstanding saves to keep a clean sheet and played a huge role in Athletic leaving Pamplona with all the points.
He was called into action early on, pushing a shot from Kike Sola wide after five minutes and then saving a Miguel Flano header from the resulting corner.
Iraizoz also denied Emiliano Armenteros and Alejandro Arribas in the first half, while Miguel De Las Cuevas sent two efforts over the bar.
Osasuna were the far more ambitious team, especially in the first half when Athletic created just one proper goalscoring chance, Aritz Aduriz placing a free header over the bar.
There were fewer chances after the break, but Osasuna still looked the most likely to score.
Kike Sola showed great skill and determination down the left-hand side to present De Las Cuevas with a glorious chance, but he headed straight at Iraizoz.
Not long after, Athletic struck. Ibai Gomez cut inside from the left wing to deliver a cross with the outside of his boot which Susaeta volleyed into the net with precision.
Osasuna did all they could in search of an equaliser. Iraizoz reacted quickly to keep out free-kicks from Armenteros and Massoud respectively, and then Joseba Llorente narrowly failed to connect with a cross from Marc Bertran, but Osasuna's hunt for a goal proved elusive.
|Markel Susaeta (63')|
|13 Andrés Fernández||1 Gorka Iraizoz|
|4 Miguel Flaño||4 Aymeric Laporte|
|14 Javi Arribas||6 Mikel San Jose|
|24 Damia||3 Jon Aurtenetxe|
|2 Marc Bertrán||15 Andoni Iraola|
|15 Oier Sonj||10 Oscar de Marcos|
|20 Francisco Silva||21 Ander Herrera|
|5 Lolo||8 Ander Iturraspe|
|7 Kike Sola||20 Aritz Aduriz|
|6 Miguel de las Cuevas||11 Ibai Gomez|
|9 Emiliano Armenteros||14 Markel Susaeta|
|10 Francisco Puñal||Fernando Llorente 9|
|19 Fernando Nano||Xabier Castillo 22|
|25 Ricardo||Raúl 13|
|17 Juan Francisco Martínez||Gaizka Toquero 2|
|12 Joseba Llorente||Igor Martínez Caseras 26|
|8 Masoud Shojaei||Jonas Ramalho 28|
|16 Alvaro Cejudo||Borja Ekiza 23|
|Masoud Shojaei for Miguel de las Cuevas (66)||Fernando Llorente for Aritz Aduriz (60)|
|Joseba Llorente for Oier Sonj (70)||Borja Ekiza for Oscar de Marcos (71)|
|Francisco Puñal for Damia (85)||Gaizka Toquero for Markel Susaeta (90)|
|Joseba Llorente (78)||Ander Iturraspe (57)|
|Mikel San Jose (67)|
|Ander Herrera (68)|
|Gorka Iraizoz (83)|
|· Squads: Osasuna | Athletic Bilbao|