December 22, 2012
Zaragoza down Bilbao
Apono and Helder Postiga were on target as Real Zaragoza ran out impressive 2-0 winners on the road at Athletic Bilbao.
Zaragoza had won just one of their last five coming into Saturday night's game but looked in fine form as they eased to the three points courtesy of Apono's penalty and Postiga's effort shortly before the interval.
Athletic have struggled to break into the top half of the Primera Division table this term but came into the match on the back of successive victories over Real Mallorca and Celta Vigo and would have expected more from their performance.
Oscar De Marcos went close to breaking the deadlock for Athletic in the 18th minute when his run and cute shot with the outside of his right boot was tipped over the bar thanks to the sharp reflexes of Roberto Jimenez.
Iker Muniain was wayward with an overhead kick from six yards as Athletic continued to press, but in the 31st minute the visitors went in front from the penalty spot.
A loose touch in the Athletic defence allowed Victor Rodriguez to steal in and take the ball from the toes of Jon Aurtenetxe, whose attempt to recover caught the Zaragoza player, who went to ground.
The referee had no hesitation in awarding the spot-kick, from which Apono sent the goalkeeper the wrong way.
Zaragoza doubled their lead in the 42nd minute through Postiga.
The Portuguese was involved twice in the move, first when he looked to latch onto a through-ball only to see Gorka Iraizoz get there just ahead of him with a brave diving punch, but when Apono immediately fired the ball back into the danger area, Postiga was on hand to collect, turn and fire home with the goalkeeper out of position.
De Marcos was unlucky not to pull one back for the hosts two minutes later as his header from Ander Herrera's cross came back off the crossbar.
Igor Martinez flashed wide from six yards from a right-wing cross in the 58th minute as Athletic continued to hunt for a way back into the match.
Postiga might have added a third for the visitors inside the final 10 minutes, while Stefan Babovic also went close as Zaragoza ended the match with plenty in reserve.
|Athletic Bilbao||Real Zaragoza|
|1 Gorka Iraizoz||1 Roberto Gago|
|38 Aymeric Laporte||4 Álvaro|
|23 Borja Ekiza||16 Glenn Loovens|
|3 Jon Aurtenetxe||21 Abraham Minero|
|15 Andoni Iraola||19 Cristian Sapunaru|
|6 Mikel San Jose||10 Apono|
|10 Oscar de Marcos||2 José María Movilla|
|21 Ander Herrera||9 Hélder Postiga|
|19 Iker Muniaín||32 Víctor Rodríguez|
|20 Aritz Aduriz||11 Francisco Montañés|
|11 Ibai Gomez||20 Franco Zuculini|
|18 Carlos Gurpegui||Leo Franco 25|
|9 Fernando Llorente||Javier Paredes 3|
|22 Xabier Castillo||Romaric 12|
|13 Raúl||Edu Oriol 8|
|2 Gaizka Toquero||Javi Álamo 23|
|26 Igor Martínez Caseras||José Mari 15|
|28 Jonas Ramalho||Stefan Babovic 17|
|Igor Martínez Caseras for Jon Aurtenetxe (45)||Edu Oriol for Víctor Rodríguez (71)|
|Fernando Llorente for Iker Muniaín (69)||Stefan Babovic for Franco Zuculini (74)|
|José Mari for Francisco Montañés (86)|
|Ander Herrera (52)||Cristian Sapunaru (34)|
|Francisco Montañés (60)|
|Stefan Babovic (77)|
|· Squads: Athletic Bilbao | Real Zaragoza|