Nov 9, 2013 at 7pm UK at ​San Mames
Athletic Bilbao
2-1
Levante
Rico (71'), Aduriz (84')
Laporte (42'), Benat (43'), de Marcos (68')
Aduriz (90')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Barral (33')
Lopez (11'), Ivanschitz (60'), Rodas (80'), Diop (81'), Nong (90')

Live Commentary: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Levante - as it happened

Athletic Bilbao's Markel Susaeta celebrates his goal against Hapoel Kiryat Shmona on September 20, 2012
© AFP
Relive Sports Mole's commentary of the La Liga clash at San Mames where Athletic Bilbao beat Levante 2-1.

Athletic Bilbao welcomed Levante to San Mames on Saturday looking to keep pace with the top four in La Liga.

It was the away side that led at the interval, however, courtesy of a close-range finish from David Barral.

Bilbao were level after 72 minutes when Mikel Rico's volley nestled in the bottom corner, before Aritz Aduriz won it with a header five minutes from time.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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6.31pmEvening all! The first of our two back-to-back live commentaries from La Liga comes from San Mames as Athletic Bilbao welcome Levante. Both sides have made encouraging starts to the season with Bilbao sitting sixth and Levante occupying ninth. Three points for the away side could move them above Bilbao, but Levante’s goal difference is inferior.

6.34pmTEAMS:

ATHLETIC BILBAO: Iraizoz; Iraola, Laporte, Gurpegi, De Marcos; Susaeta, Benat, Iturraspe, Ibai; Muniain, Guillermo

LEVANTE: Navas; Juanfran, Lopez, Rodas, El Adoua; Diop, Simao, Xumetra; Garcia, Ivanschitz, Barral


6.37pmSo there we have it. First league start of the season for Bilbao striker Guillermo, with the Spaniard joined in attack by Iker Muniain. Oscar de Marcos will seemingly operate at left-back, while Ander Herrera is left on the bench. There is no Nabil El Zhar or Baba Diawara for Levante, meanwhile, but David Barral and Ruben Garcia are both in the XI.

6.40pmIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Levante have won three of the last five, while Bilbao have won twice. As mentioned, the corresponding fixture last season ended in a 1-0 win for Levante, who were also 3-1 winners on their own patch in January. In fact, Levante have won their last three matches against Bilbao.

6.43pmLast season proved to be one to forget for Bilbao, but there have been signs of encouragement this season. The Basque outfit have taken 20 points from their 12 matches this season, with that run of form leaving them in sixth position in the table, just three points off the top four. European football is certainly on the agenda for Bilbao this season.

6.46pmMuch of their success this season has been built on a strong home record with four wins and two draws from their six matches on their own patch. However, they have also won twice on the road. The goals have also been flowing with 18 to their name thus far, but they have conceded 17 times, keeping just three clean sheets in the process.

6.49pmLevante, meanwhile, have conceded 15 times in their 12 matches. To put that into context with the rest of the division, that is eight more than Barcelona, who have the best record, but 15 fewer than Rayo Vallecano, who have the worst. Down the other end, Levante have managed just 12 goals, with Nabil El Zhar on the scoresheet four times.

6.52pmLevante are winless in their last two matches with a goalless draw against Real Betis followed by a 1-0 defeat by Granada. They have had a tough start to the season, however, with matches against Barcelona and Real Madrid in the opening months. Taking all of that into account, it has been an impressive start to the season for the Valencia-based outfit.

6.55pmTheir away form has also been impressive this season with three wins, two draws and just one defeat on their travels. At home, meanwhile, they have won just one of their six matches. It is no surprise that their counter-attacking style has proved more effective on their travels. However, tonight they are up against a team with a very strong home record.

6.58pmPREDICTION: It would be fair to say that neither side is at full strength this evening, but it is a chance for a number of players to impress. Levante have the personnel to worry Bilbao on the counter, but I think that the home side will have too much of the ball throughout the 90 minutes. It is for that reason that I am backing a 2-0 home win at San Mames.

1 minA full-time to bring you from La Liga - Getafe have just been held to a 1-1 draw at home to Elche. Right, the pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium this evening, which is not a surprise. The away side get the action underway.

2 minYou just get the feeling that the first goal - if there indeed is one - could be vital in this type of match. It has been a bright start from Bilbao, with young striker Guillermo twice involved inside the Levante box. However, the Spaniard cannot gather under pressure from Hector Rodas, before Juanfran comes across to clear.

4 minBilbao's bright start to proceedings continues as Muniain drives down the left before delivering a low cross into the box, but Rodas is across to clear. Levante have the chance to counter down the other end as Garcia picks Gurpegi's pocket, but the Levante forward is penalised for handball.

6 minGood pressure from Bilbao as they force two half-chances in quick succession. Both arrive to Guillermo, but the Spaniard's first effort is blocked by Juanfran, before Diop clears the second. Navas is called into action moments later to deny Iraola, before Benat's effort is saved by the Levante goalkeeper.

9 minThe referee has been more involved than he would like in the early stages with the challenges flying in from both sides. A poor pass from Iraola presents a half-chance to Barral moments later, but his effort is wide of the post. The resulting corner is delivered by Xumetra, but Iraola clears off the line.

11 minHectic opening 11 minutes to this La Liga fixture with neither side too interested in defending. Meanwhile, the referee continues to be called into question. Plenty happening in the middle of the park as both teams continue to impress with incisive passing. Goalless at San Mames.

13 minControversial decision from the referee as Susaeta is pulled down by Juanfran outside the box, but the official is not interested. Had a free kick been awarded, it would have had to be a red card. Safe to say that the home supporters are not best pleased. End-to-end football with 13 minutes on the clock.

15 minAnother half-chance for Bilbao as Benat delivers a dangerous free kick into the box, but the referee blows for a foul as Navas is challenged by Guillermo. Levante are down the other end with Barral moments later, but the Spaniard cannot find that yard of space on the edge of the box. No real chances for either thus far.

16 minCHANCE! It's wonderful from Guillermo as the Bilbao striker turns into the Levante box before attempting to slide one into the bottom corner, but Navas is across to make a fine save at the vital moment. There is no question that the stopper is one of the best goalkeepers in La Liga.

18 minCHANCE! The chances continue to arrive for the home side as Muniain collects a loose ball inside the box, but his effort is blocked by Rodas. The resulting corner is almost met by Guillermo, but Navas puts a strong fist on it.

21 minThe rain is really coming down at the moment, which is certainly effecting the pitch. Both of these teams like to play football, but late challenges are occurring. It would not be a surprise to see the referee issue a red card in this type of fixture. Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of moments.

23 minGuillermo continues to impress for the home side with his pace and power causing problems to the Levante defence. Rodas clashes with the Bilbao striker in a 50/50 challenge, but both are unharmed. Bilbao have had more of the possession this evening, but Levante remain a threat on the counter with their pace.

25 minNot too many teams get the better of Levante in the air and that is proving the case at the moment. Bilbao are not shy in getting the ball wide, but continuous crosses are playing into the hands of the away side. Meanwhile, the likes of Simao and Diop are just sitting in front of their defence. Susaeta has an effort on goal moments later, but Navas collects.

28 minNot too much for the home supporters to get excited about in the final third at the moment as Levante continue to repel the danger from Bilbao. Ivanschitz has a half-chance down the other end, but the striker loses possession at the vital moment. Still goalless with little over 15 minutes of the first period remaining.

30 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for the home side to open the scoring as Ibai finds Susaeta inside the box, but somehow the Spaniard diverts his effort wide of the post. How on earth has he missed?! Bilbao should be ahead after 30 minutes.

32 minHalf-chance for Levante to threaten as Diop whips a dangerous free kick into the box. However, the danger is finally cleared following a period of pin-ball. The pressure continues as Pedro Lopez delivers a cross towards Barral, but Laporte takes charge of proceedings. Still goalless at San Mames in this La Liga fixture.

33 minOpportunity for De Marcos to threaten for the home side as he drives past two defenders before delivering a low cross into the box, but Navas collects. Levante have had more of the possession in the last 10 minutes or so, but they are not really threatening to take the lead. I hope we don't have a goalless draw on our hands here.

33 minGOAL! Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Levante (Barral)

34 minWhat was I saying? No threat from Levante? It's brilliant work from Xumetra as the Spaniard bursts into the box before finding Garcia, his effort is saved by Iraizoz, but Barral is on hand to tap home from close range. Levante lead against the run of play.

36 minGood response from the home side as Muniain finds some space outside the box before attempting to strike one into the bottom corner, but it was always moving high and wide of the crossbar. You just get the feeling that Levante need to repel the pressure in the final stages of the first period if they are to hold onto this lead.

39 minThe corner count continues to rise for the home side as El Adoua clears a Benat cross. Benat is on hand to deliver the resulting set piece, but there are no takers at the far post. Real lack of invention from the home side at the moment as they continue to throw high balls into the area. Little over five minutes of the first period remaining at San Mames.

41 minLevante threaten with a couple of deep crosses into the box, but Iraizoz has been impressive in the air thus far. End-to-end football in the latter stages of the first period, but both goalkeepers are fairly comfortable in dealing with the danger. Can Bilbao equalise before the interval?

43 minThis is the first time that Bilbao have played on a Saturday in the new San Mames stadium and it has not gone to plan thus far. Another half-chance for the away side as Barral finds some space down the right before delivering a low cross into the box, but Benat is on hand to clear at the vital moment. Little over two minutes of the first period remaining.

45 minGood pressure from Bilbao in the latter stages of the first period as Muniain drives past two defenders before finding Ibai, but once more his cross is into the arms of Navas. Moments later, Benat picks up a booking for a foul on Garcia. Boos around the stadium as we approach the interval.

45+1 minHALF TIME: Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Levante

7.47pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with Levante leading 1-0. Bilbao have had the majority of the chances, but a strike from Barral after 33 minutes has left the away side ahead at the interval. Bilbao have it all to do in the second 45 minutes at San Mames.

7.52pmSTATISTICS: Bilbao have had more of the possession with 57%, while they have had five attempts to Levante's three. However, just one of Bilbao's efforts has been on target, while Levante have hit the target three times. The referee, meanwhile, has been forced to issue three yellow cards in an end-to-end first half of football.

7.57pmBENCH WATCH: The home side certainly have attacking options on their bench in the shape of Toquero, Aduriz and Herrera. Meanwhile, Levante have the likes of Nong, El Zhar and Pedro Rios in reserve. It would not be a surprise to see changes from the home side at the interval.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. Just a reminder that following this match we have action from Celta Vigo against Rayo Vallecano. Be sure to remain with us for that. Right, the home side get the second period underway at San Mames.

48 minThere were indeed two changes for Bilbao at the interval with Rico and Aduriz replacing Muniain and Benat, who both struggled for invention in the first period. No changes from Levante, which is not much of a surprise. You just get the feeling that the next goal - if we indeed have one - could be vital in this type of match.

50 minAduriz has indeed stepped into attack for the home team alongside Guillermo. It is a central defender, Laporte, that forces the issue, however, as the Frenchman dances into the Levante box, but his effort was blocked by Pedro Lopez at the final moment. Good tempo to the second period thus far with both sides forcing the issue.

53 minHalf-chance for Rico this time as the Bilbao midfielder finds some space on the edge of the box before attempting to curl one into the bottom corner, but Navas is across to make the save. You would have to fancy Bilbao to secure all the points if they score the next goal. However, Levante remain a threat on the counter.

55 minCHANCE! Wonderful chance for Levante to score their second as Garcia beats the offside trap before poking his effort past Iraizoz, but Laporte is on hand to clear off the line. That would have been a big blow to Bilbao. The home side are straight down the other end with De Marcos, but his cross is straight into the arms of Navas.

57 minBilbao force their ninth corner of the match following good work from Ibai, but once more the delivery into the box is short of the required standard. It would not be a surprise if Levante were considering a change at this stage of proceedings. El Zhar would be the obvious replacement to provide some pace and movement in the final third.

60 minControversial decision from the referee as Iraizoz comes a long way to challenge Xumetra. The Bilbao goalkeeper does not seem to get anywhere near the ball, but a goal kick is awarded. Safe to say that the away side are not happy with that decision. However, they still lead with little under 30 minutes of football remaining.

62 minThe rain continues to fall as Bilbao threaten once more, but Ibai's cross is headed over his own crossbar by Pedro Lopez. There is no real invention from Bilbao at the moment, with the majority of their threat coming from wide areas. Meanwhile, you can sense the frustration in the crowd as each attack continues to break down outside the Levante box.

64 minLevante's Ivanschitz receives a yellow card for fouling Susaeta on the edge of the box. The resulting free kick is taken by Ibai, but his effort is straight into the wall. Navas is called into action moments later and he answers the call with a fine save to deny Aduriz from close range. Still Levante lead at San Mames.

66 minBilbao just need to be a little bit careful here as they continue to commit players forward. Levante certainly have the players to threaten on the counter attack. Meanwhile, the referee has been more involved than he would like in the last couple of moments as the challenges continue to arrive from both sides. It appears that a change is imminent for Levante.

68 minIndeed Levante do make a change as Nikos replaces Ivanschitz. Bilbao have made two of their three permitted changes, while Levante have made just the one. Little over 20 minutes of football remaining at San Mames and somehow Levante still lead. This would be a big scalp for the away side. Just a reminder that Bilbao are yet to lose on their own patch this season.

71 minAnother half-chance for Bilbao as Ibai curls one from outside the box, but Navas is on hand to make the save. Bilbao make their third and final change moments later as Toquero replaces Guillermo, who has had an impressive debut for the Basque outfit. Xumetra has a rare half-chance for Levante down the other end, but his effort is wide of the post.

72 minBilbao continue to deliver high balls into the Levante box, but the away side continue to repel the danger. The second period has been like a contest replay - Bilbao forcing the issue, but Levante standing strong. Wouldn't it be just like football if Levante went down the other end and scored? Little over 15 minutes of football remaining.

72 minGOAL! Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Levante (Rico)

73 minBilbao level! It's a bit of a horror from Navas as the Levante goalkeeper palms a cross straight to Rico, but the Spaniard had it all to do as he volleyed one into the bottom corner. Game on!

75 minHalf-chance for Bilbao as Aduriz finds some space on the edge of the box before attempting to curl one into the bottom corner, but his effort was always moving wide of the post. There is no respite for Levante as Ibai delivers another deep cross into the box, but Juanfran manages to clear at the vital moment.

78 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Toquero collects possession outside the box, but his low effort moves just wide of the post. Incredible intensity to the match at the moment as the home side continue to force the issue. However, Levante remain a threat on the counter.

80 minLevante make their second change of the match as El Zhar replaces Barral, whose goal moved the away side into the lead after 33 minutes. The pressure continues from Bilbao as they force two more corners in quick succession, but the danger is cleared. Toquero is causing all sorts of problems at the moment.

82 minIbai takes matters into his own hands moments later as he strikes one from outside the box, but it was always rising high and wide of the crossbar. If one side is to win this, then it looks like it will be Bilbao. Levante just have not figured in the second period. They would certainly be the happier with a point if the match finishes level. However, there is still a lot of football to be played.

84 minIbai has the ball in the back of the net for Bilbao, but the celebrations are cut short as the offside flag is raised. It is indeed the correct decision from the linesman. Slight problem for Navas moments later as the Levante goalkeeper goes down inside his box. Timewasting? Quite possibly.

84 minGOAL! Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Levante (Aduriz)

85 minBilbao take the lead with five minutes remaining as Aduriz's powerful header nestles in the bottom corner. The home side have indeed turned this match around. Can Levante respond?!

88 minLevante just need to be a little bit careful here as a number of their players continue to dive into dangerous challenges. On this surface, it could cause serious damage. The away side force a corner moments later, but Toquero rises in the box to clear the danger. Little over two minutes of normal time remaining.

90 minLevante make their third and final change as Nyom replaces Diop. Nyom is involved within seconds as he drives down the left before finding a low cross, but Iraizoz collects. The fourth official indicates that we will play an additional four minutes. Can Levante force an equaliser?

90+2 minRED CARD! Bilbao are reduced to 10 men here as Aduriz is given his marching orders after clashing with Nyom. Handbags between both sets of players. It is harsh on Aduriz, who barely touches the Levante sub.

90+4 minThe away side continue to deliver high balls into the box, but Bilbao are equal to the danger. Little over one minute of injury time remaining and Bilbao have a free kick in their own half. They are almost there. What a vital three points at this stage of the season.

90+5 minFULL TIME: Athletic Bilbao 2-1 Levante

8.52pmSo there we have it. The referee brings the match to an end with Bilbao winning 2-1. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to remain with us for Celta against Rayo. Until then!

Athletic Bilbao's goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz celebrates after his team scored during the Spanish league football match Athletic Club Bilbao vs Valencia CF at the San Mames stadium in Bilbao on October 6, 2013
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