After struggling to score in the opening three matches, Athletic Club put two past Valencia to give them a very important and morale boosting victory.
More misery for Valencia
Valencia got off to the best possible start, putting the ball in the back of Athletic Club’s net after only 90 seconds. Martin Montoya worked wonders to run from his own defensive third to end up putting Nani through beyond the Bilbao defence. The EURO 2016 winner then squared the ball for another new signing Alvaro Medran, who made no mistake slotting the ball into the back of the net.
It took a little over 15 minutes for the Basque club to find their first chance, Raul Garcia whipped in a tremendous cross which beat every Valencia defender and Markel Susaeta had the simple job of putting the ball in the back of the net, but he ended up skewing his shot wide of the far post from only six yards out.
Aderllan Santos and Eliaquim Mangala had been poor for the entirety of the first half. First the Frenchman on loan from Manchester City allowed Inaki Williams to get behind the Valencia back line, but the young Spaniard scuffed his shot straight at Diego Alves.
Minutes after, Benat whipped in a delightful freekick and it was met by Artiz Aduriz who is one of the best strikers in the air and the Spanish international made no mistake, heading the ball ferociously into the underside of the cross bar to bring the score level.
Following that goal, Benat was dispossessed in a dangerous position and the central midfielder had no option but to bring Rodrigo down and allow Valencia to have a freekick in a dangerous position. Dani Parejo, who is usually deadly from freekicks, could only blaze the ball over the bar.
After the half hour mark, Rodrigo came agonisingly close to putting his side back in the lead when he volleyed the bouncing ball just over the cross bar. A difficult chance but one that would have been an early contender for goal of the season if it had ended up in the back of the net.
Minutes from the half time whistle, Aduriz put his side into the lead. Benat became provider once more as he lofted the ball over the Valencia back four for Aduriz to run on to and the veteran striker guided the bouncing ball over Diego Alves to put his side in the lead in spectacular fashion.
Valencia remain bottom of La Liga
Not much came by way of opportunities in the second half, Bilbao had a half chance just after the hour mark, Inaki nodded a cross down into the path of Raul Garcia, he then volleyed the ball toward goal but it was saved well by Alves.
Moments after, Valencia almost got their second goal, after Nani brilliantly got past Balenziaga down the right. The Portuguese winger then squared the ball to Rodrigo, whose shot from four yards out was incredibly kept out by young Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
A few minutes later, Bilbao caught Valencia on the counter, Garcia once again involved, spreading the play to Aduriz, his first touch was excellent but his second wasn’t, the shot was dragged wide of the far post.
Nothing much happened due to the amount of fouls committed by both sides and those fouls broke any tempo each side had managed to build up.
The next and final chance of the match came in the 84th minute and it was a counter attack by Bilbao once more. Benat played Aduriz through and he selfishly squared the ball back to Benat, but as he was winding up to shoot, Aderllan Santos flew in with the magnificent tackle to deny Benat from increasing the home sides advantage.
That was all she wrote at the San Mames, the win for Athletic means they move up to eight position and Los Che remain rooted to the foot of the table, losing all four matches played this season.