Ernest Valverdethe last Spanish coach to win the League, returned to official activity two and a half years after he was fired by Joseph Maria Bartomeu in a Barcelona that has not sniffed the championship again. The return of the coach to the bench of an Athletic whose main objective is to qualify for Europe mixed illusion and impotence, well-known sensations in San Mamés. The rojiblancos, despite their good intentions and stretches of good play, especially in the first half, were unable to go beyond a goalless draw against the stony Mallorca of Javier Aguirre. The problems with the goal, so pronounced during the era of MarcellinThey are far from resolved.
It was the Serbian goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovicwho had just finished executing exhibitions in France with the Stade de Reims, the great protagonist of that sunny day in Bilbao in which they honored Muniain for his 500 matches with Athletic. The goal scored up to six stops (some as meritorious as the one he made to Guruzeta with the left hand and in correction backwards in the twilight) and showed that Mallorca may leave behind the difficulties it had in the position last year due to the instability of Manolo Queen.
innovated Valverde drawing a 4-3-3 with sancet and Muniain as interiors and the left-handed booty of vesga as a reference beacon, with the hope that the technical quality of both would allow good circulation against the traps of Mallorca. Inaki Williamsthus, he went to the right wing so that villalibre acted as a battering ram as a reward for his good preseason.
Athletic, before the nerves limited him, flowed and knew how to grow on the sides, especially that of Berenguer. But, once again, there was no one to finish off the shares. The rojiblancos shot 23 times, even crashing two balls into the posts (Vesga and the revitalized Yuri), but were unable to beat Rajkovic. They even had to see how Unai Simonwho has spent the summer injured in his right shoulder, was due to emerge to snatch glory from Kang-In Lee.
The corrections made by Valverde did not improve the matter, no matter how much Nick Williams get fed up to percuss by the shore or that Raul Garcia try to hunt something in the area. He fainted in the afternoon with a last save from Rajkovic to Nico in a San Mamés that will continue to dream of scoring.
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