Iñaki Williams seals Athletic’s victory in Italy (0

Athletic finished its stage of preparation prior to the start of the competition again with a new victory. This time in Italy against Udinese. Iñaki Williams, one of the three World Cup players for the rojiblanco team, scored the winning goal in this clash in which his brother Nico and goalkeeper Unai Simón also had minutes.

The lions, seen what has been seen, have done well with this league break motivated by the World Cup in Qatar. The rojiblancos culminate their winter preseason with four wins in as many games. The one from Udine, being a First Division rival and far from San Mamés, was beforehand the most complicated of the friendly quartet and Valverde’s men, as in the previous three, responded effectively and even had a certain brilliance at specific moments.

Valverde took advantage of this last friendly of the winter preseason to give minutes to those lions who did not have them on Thursday against Burgos. Agirrezabala and Morcillo, again stuck to the right wing, were the only ones to repeat in the starting eleven. From there, in defense they formed Capa, Vivian, Paredes and Lekue; in the double pivot Dani García and Vencedor with Muniain ahead and World Cup player Nico Williams close to the left wing. Villalibre acted as center back.

Iñaki Williams celebrates the winning goal against Udine

Athletic Club

Udinese, eighth in their League after concatenating a streak of seven consecutive games without winning (five draws and two losses), formed in yellow despite the fact that their usual clothing is black and white. Andre Sottil, his coach, also presented a recognizable eleven, although also a test one. The Italians settled with a 1-4-4-2 system.

The first half was one of clear control and rojiblanco dominance. The lions became strong in the center of the field, recovered the ball relatively quickly and knew how to respond when their rival tried to go on the counterattack. Agirrezabala, in this way, barely had to intervene.

The occasions were falling on the Bilbao side. Nico Williams and Morcillo were the first to cheer up. Vencedor also tried from outside the area before Villalibre had two clear options before the break to open the scoring. The local goal Silvestri had a lot to do in the 0-0 at the end of the first half.

The second half started with Unai Simón under the sticks. The Italians took a step forward after having been subjected to the best rojiblanco work. Vivian and the Athletic World Cup goalkeeper avoided greater evils when the locals tightened the most. Valverde also began to pull from the bench.

Raúl García and Iñaki Williams were his first refreshment field men. Minutes later, both made what was to be the winning goal. The Navarrese made a pass of his own between the lines and the Bilbao player, who this time acted as a right-handed winger, crossed into the back of the net. Villalibre also had his choice of head and even Raúl García himself was able to sign the 0-2 with a breath from the end.

Iñaki Williams seals Athletic's victory in Italy (0-1)





udinese: Silvestri; Nehuen Pérez, Bijol, Ebosse (Nuytinck 60′), Festy Ebosele (Buta 73′); Pereyra (Ehizibue 60′), Lovric (Samardzic 46′), Walace, Arslan (Jajalo 60′); Beto (Pafundi 85′) and Success (Nestorovski 73′).

Athletic: Agirrezabala (Unai Simón 46′); Capa, Vivian, Paredes, Lekue (Yeray 74′); Winner (Vesga 84′), Dani García (Gerenabarrena 85′); Black pudding (Jon Cabo 84′), Muniain (Raúl García 60′), Nico Williams (Iñaki Williams 60′); and Villalibre (Zarraga 74′).

Goal: 0-1: minute 86, Iñaki Williams.

Referee: Goivanni Ayroldi. There were no reprimands.

see match sheet

Valverde, in the midst of a match with an increasing trend towards equality, continued to test before and after the winning goal. Paredes, for example, ended up acting as a left back in an eleven in which the still puppies Gerenaberrena and Jon Cabo also had a place. On Tuesday the serious thing starts again with the cup visit to the Sestao River.

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Iñaki Williams seals Athletic’s victory in Italy (0-1)