Bilbao has taken a step closer to making history after defeating Manchester United 3-2 in Old Trafford.
In a game that will go down as one of Bilbao’s best matches in recent history, Marcelo Bielsa has begun making his mark in Europe. Sir Alex Ferguson had stated that Athletic Bilbao should not be taken lightly, but what was to come, was not seen by anyone. Experts said that Bilbao was capable of a draw or a 1-0 defeat playing away.
Nevertheless, Bielsa like the mastermind that he is, had a different idea on how to approach this match. The Argentine came in to Old Trafford determined to make history with the Spanish Club. A team that was once big in ‘La Liga’ many decades ago. Today, Bilbao and the rest of the league, live in the shadows of Barcelona and Real Madrid who dominate the table.
Wayne Rooney gave the red devils the expected 1-0 lead 22 minutes in to the match. Bilbao would find the equalizer through Spanish sensation, Fernando Llorente one minute before the end of the half. A Llorente who’s been on fire this season for Bilbao, a spectacular season many credit Bielsa for. Rumors circulating are already stating the Llorente might exit the club during the summer transfer window. The way the big striker is playing, it would be difficult to keep him at Bilbao.
Both teams went in to the break with a 1-1 draw, what was to come was surely unexpected by anyone at Old Trafford. With a 4-3-3 formation, Bilbao unleashed a wave of attacks that had United on the ropes. After searching for the second goal, Oscar de Marcos would find the back of the net to put Athletic Bilbao up 2-1. The silence in Old Trafford was inevitable. Bilbao was the better team, the team attacking, the one fighting for every single possession.
The only thing preventing Manchester United from disaster, was David de Gea, who’s performance was astounding for the red devils. United’s keeper had three saves before Bilbao’s third goal. 19 year old Iker Muniain would make it 3-1 after a defending mistake from Rafael. The game seemed to be over with a well deserve victory coming Bilbao’s way. Unlikely for the “Vascos,’ a hand ball would give United a penalty kick that gave Ferguson some optimism for the returning leg in Spain. Rooney would put the penalty kick away, in order to make it 3-2.
“It has been an unforgettable game,” said Fernando Llorente who knows Bilbao is a step closer to making history. A club who’s forgotten the taste of victory in all competitions. Bilbao has won ‘La Liga’ on 8 occasions, and the ‘Copa del Rey’ 23 different times. Although the club is currently passing through an almost 30 year drought. With the arrival of Bielsa, Bilbao has found themselves in the ‘ Copa del Rey’ final once again. Where they will meet giants Barcelona, a team they went toe to toe during the first round of the regular season.
Today Bilbao went head to head with another giant, the “Vascos” travelled to Old Trafford and stole a win from Rooney and company. Not even Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez could save United against Bielsa and his boys. Next week both teams meet again in Spain, Bilbao could start making a statement in Europe for the first time in club history.
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