Mar 10, 2013 at 11am UK at ​San Mames
Athletic Bilbao
1-0
Valencia
Muniaín (79')
Iturraspe (58')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Haedo Valdez (25'), Parejo (33'), Mathieu (35'), Albelda (53'), Feghouli (67'), Soldado (82')

Live Commentary: Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Valencia - as it happened

San Mames
© PA Photos
Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the La Liga clash at San Mames as Athletic Bilbao record a 1-0 win over Valencia.

Valencia travelled to struggling Athletic Bilbao on Sunday knowing that three points would have moved them into fourth position in the La Liga table.

Both teams enjoyed periods of possession in the first period, but neither could make the breakthrough with the scores level at the interval.

It was Bilbao who opened the scoring late on when Iker Muniain found the top corner, with that strike enough to pick up all the points.

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


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10.31amMorning all! Thanks for joining me on your Sunday morning for the La Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Valencia. After Bilbao’s impressive showing in the Europa League last season, many predicted that they would push on in this campaign, but they have really struggled. It is not against the realms of possibility for them to drop out of the division.

10.34amValencia, meanwhile, have really improved in recent weeks. They have drawn their last two in the league, but a run of 12 points from their last six matches has moved them into sixth position in the league. Should they pick up all three points in this match then they would move into fourth.

10.37amIn terms of the recent meetings between the two sides, Valencia have certainly enjoyed the better of it. They have won four of their last five matches against Bilbao, with the only draw coming at the Mestalla in 2011. As mentioned, Valencia were 3-2 winners in the reverse match earlier in the season. They also recorded a 3-0 victory in this stadium last season.

10.40amBilbao currently occupy 14th position in the table, five points ahead of the relegation zone. They have managed two wins from their last six matches, but have lost three of their last four. Their home form has also not been too impressive this season with just five wins from their 13 matches, taking 17 points in the process.

10.43amThat said, their away form has hardly turned heads with three wins from 13 matches. Valencia have managed just four wins on the road, meanwhile, losing five times in the process. Their home form has been impressive, however, with eight wins from 14 matches, the fifth-best record in the division.

10.46amTEAMS:

BILBAO: Iraizoz; Iraola, San Jose, Aurtenetxe, Laporte; Susaeta, Ekiza, Iturraspe, De Marcos; Aduriz, Ibai

VALENCIA: Guaita; Cissokho, Mathieu, Ruiz, Barragan; Banega, Costa, Feghouli, Parejo; Piatti, Valdez


10.49amSo there we have it. No major surprises in the Bilbao team for this match, although Iker Muniain continues on the bench. Fernando Llorente - who will join Juventus at the end of the season - is also in the squad. Valencia, meanwhile, make a host of changes from their Champions League clash with PSG. Roberto Soldado, Jonas and Sergio Canales all drop out, with Nelson Valdez, Pablo Piatti and Ever Banega coming into the team.

10.52amTaking a look at the statistics, it is easy to see where Bilbao have struggled this season. They have conceded 50 times in their 26 matches, which is the second-worst record in the division. Valencia, meanwhile, have conceded 39 times, far from watertight. Down the other end, Bilbao have managed 31 goals to Valencia’s 38.

10.55amRight, let me take a moment to tell you what we have to come this afternoon. Levante play host to Getafe at 4pm, with our coverage starting at 3.30pm. Following the completion of that match, Celta Vigo host Real Madrid before Real Sociedad travel to Atletico Madrid. Believe me, you will not want to miss it.


10.58amHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of kickoff. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Time for my pre-match prediction. Valencia certainly enter the match in the better form, but I think Bilbao have enough about them to pick up a point at San Mames.

0 minToday's referee is Jose Teixeira. It will be interesting to see how Valencia cope without the threat of Soldado and Jonas. Only time will tell whether Ernesto Valverde has rested his key duo at the right time in the season. Right, the home side get the action underway on this mild afternoon in Spain.

2 minBilbao really need to start picking up victories if they are to move away from the relegation zone. Another defeat here would be a huge blow in their fight for survival. Strong start for the home side as Ibai Gomez drives down the right before whipping a cross into the box, but Barragan stoops low to clear the danger.

4 minNot a full house inside the stadium this afternoon, but there is a good atmosphere. You just get the feeling that Bilbao need to keep the fans on side in the early stages. Again, the home side threaten as Susaeta combines with Iraola before finding De Marcos, but the attacker can only head wide of the post.

6 minBilbao really have started this match like a house on fire as they continue to fire low crosses into the Valencia penalty area, but the patched-up defence has been able to clear the danger, for now. You do worry whether Valencia will be able to create chances in the final third without Soldado and Jonas, who are both on the bench.

8 minThere is a huge incentive on hand for the away side, however, with three points this afternoon enough to move them info fourth position in the table. Another half-chance comes to Bilbao as Susaeta fires a dangerous cross into the box, but Mathieu is across to clear. All-action start to this match.

10 minFirst shooting chance for the away side comes to Piatti as the attacker strikes an effort from outside the box, but it was always rising over the crossbar. Bilbao launch an immediate counter down the other end, with Susaeta finding a cross once more, but this time Guaita comes a long way to clear the danger.

12 minJust a few signs that Valencia are starting to settle into the match with Costa, Banega and Parejo seeing more of the ball. The latter attempts to slip a through pass towards Valdez, but San Jose is across to clear. The opening 12 minutes has just flown by with both teams demonstrating attacking intent.

14 minBarragan is involved for Valencia as he drives down the right before firing a low cross into the box, but Iraola just manages to clear under pressure from Valdez. Not too much for the home side to get excited about at the moment with Valencia taking control of the possession. However, still no real chances for either side.

16 minSlightly untidy period of the match in the last couple of minutes with both sides guilty of handing possession away in midfield. No signs that either team are prepared to settle for a point, but neither goalkeeper has really been tested thus far. It does appear that the opening goal could soon be on its way.

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18 minIt's good football from Valencia as Feghouli combines with Costa before finding Piatti in a wide position, but his cross is straight into the arms of the goalkeeper. Bilbao create a half-chance down the other end as Aduriz meets a cross from D Marcos, but he can only head wide of the post.

20 minIt's Bilbao's turn to pass and probe outside the penalty area as they desperately search for the opening goal of the match. Iturraspe turns provider this time as he feeds a pass towards Ibai, but the impressive Mathieu makes the challenge. The opening 20 minutes of this match has just flown by.

22 minHalf-chance for the away side this time as Cissokho drives a low cross into the penalty area, Iraizoz spills the danger, but San Jose is first to react to thump the ball clear. In keeping with the end-to-end period of the match, Laporte strikes an effort from distance, but it was always moving wide of the post.

25 minPiatti attempts a strike from distance as he thumps an effort towards goal, but Iraizoz is across to claim. There have been plenty of suggestions that both teams are prepared to commit players to each attack, but it would be no exaggeration to say that there has not been one clear chance thus far.

27 minGomez is next to try his luck from distance as he drives to the edge of the box before firing towards the bottom corner, but it was always moving wide of the post. A corner follows down the other end moments later, but Costa's delivery is cleared by Ekiza.

29 minNeither side is taking too much care of possession at the moment with both guilty of sloppy passing in midfield. With a bit more quality in the final third, there are certainly goals in this match. Piatti is again the threat as he runs behind the Bilbao defence, but Guaita is out to close the gap at the earliest opportunity.

31 minThe man of the moment Piatti strikes another effort from distance, but the goalkeeper was always comfortable in dealing with the danger. Not too much for the home supporters to get excited about at the moment, with Aduriz cutting an isolated figure in the final third.

33 minLittle under 10 minutes of the first period remaining and we still await the opening goal of the match. As far as 0-0 draws go, it has certainly been exciting. But the one major disappointment is the inability for either side to create any real chances.

35 minValencia have a problem here in the latter stages of the first period as Ruiz is forced off the pitch with an injury. It seemed slightly innocuous, but the defender has been replaced by the experienced David Albelda. That has just interrupted the tempo of the match in the last couple of moments.

37 minValencia continue to force the issue as they pass and probe outside the Bilbao penalty area, but the home side have been comfortable in dealing with the danger once more. A free kick does arrive, which is taken by Costa, but it is straight into the arms of the goalkeeper. Not too much longer remaining in the first period.

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39 minNot too much to report in the last couple of moments, but the end-to-end period of the match continues. I cannot quite work out whether solid defending has been the case of that, or poor ability in the final third. One thing is for certain, the referee takes no prisoners as he awards a yellow to Costa.

42 minCROSSBAR! Opportunity for the home side to fashion a shooting chance outside the box as Parejo is adjudged to have handled. Ibai takes the resulting free kick, but his effort thumps against the crossbar. That is wonderful technique from the Spaniard. But the score remains level at 0-0.

44 minIt must be said that the Bilbao supporters have not stopped singing in this opening period of football. They deserve a goal from their team this afternoon. Little over one minute of normal time remaining in the first period. It is the type of match that could be decided by the single goal. Valencia have an opportunity of their own from a free kick, but Costa fires wide.

45 minNot too much to report in the latter stages of the first period with both sides battling for possession. It does appear that the home team will enter the break in the ascendancy, but without a goal to their name. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional one minute at the end of the half.

45 min+1HALF-TIME: Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Valencia

11.48amSo there we have it. The referee brings the first period to an end with the two sides level at 0-0. It has not been the most enthralling of matches thus far, but there have been plenty of suggestions that goals will come in the second period.

11.52amSTATISTICS: Bilbao have just about shaded the possession with 55%, but they have managed just three attempts to Valencia's give. Despite a host of pressure in the final third, you cannot really say that either goalkeeper has been too concerned. I suspect that will change in the second period.

11.56amBENCH WATCH: The home side have a host of attacking options on the bench this afternoon with Llorente and Muniain both capable of making an impact. Valencia also have firepower on the bench, however, in the shape of Roberto Soldado, Jonathan Viera and Jonas. There are certainly goals in that list.

12pmAs it stands, Valencia would remain in sixth position in the table, just one point outside of the top four. Meanwhile, Bilbao would continue in 14th, with 11 matches remaining. The next 45 minutes could have a huge impact on each team's season.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch for the second period. No changes for either side at the interval which is perhaps not too surprising based one events in the first period. Although I would expect that to change in the next 15 minutes or so. The away side get the half underway.

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48 minValencia make a strong start to the second half as Parejo drives a low cross into the box, but Ekiza manages to clear at the vital moment. The resulting corner is taken by Costa, but Iraizoz comes a long way to clear the danger. No signs of the tempo dropping following the half-time interval.

50 minValencia continue to dominate the possession in the early stages of this half with Parejo and Costa prepared to join their forward players. Eventually a strike comes from Feghouli, but his effort is just wide of the target. A penalty shout arrives moments later as Feghouli tumbles in the box, but the referee waves play on.

52 minBilbao create a chance of their own as Ibai fires a searching cross into the box, but it just would not fall for Aduriz, with Barragan on hand to clear. In keeping with the end-to-end period of the match, Piatti has an effort from close range, but Iraizoz is on hand to make the save. All-action start to this second period.

54 minBilbao force the issue once more with a series of crosses into the penalty area, but the danger is cleared. It does beg the question, if the home side are going to play this way, then why is Llorente not playing? He is leaving at the end of the season, but he could play a role in keeping Bilbao in the division. It does seem a strange one for me.

57 minCHANCE! Just about the clearest chance of the second period comes to Feghouli as the midfielder collects a pass from Costa before striking towards goal, but Iraizoz gets down low to make the save. You just get the feeling that one goal could be enough to win this match. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining.

59 minThe match is just so delicately poised with both teams sharing periods of possession. A reminder that three points for Valencia would move them into fourth position, while victory for Bilbao would ease their relegation fears. There is so much on the line. Will we have a breakthrough at San Mames?

61 minSlightly bitty period of the match in the last couple of minutes with the referee called into action to deal with a number of fouls. In fairness, it has not been that type of game, but the challenges have started to become more frequent. Just about 30 minutes of football remaining in this fascinating La Liga contest as Muniain replaces Aurtenetxe.

64 minAnother half-chance comes to the home side as Aduriz finds Ibai in the box, but the Spaniard can only fire his effort over the crossbar. Still no movement on the Bilbao bench, while Valencia have also made just the one change, with Ruiz being replaced by Albelda in the first period. I suspect that we could see Llorente sooner rather than later. End-to-end football at San Mames, but still no breakthrough.

66 minDecent pressure from Valencia in the last couple of moments, but without Soldado, they do not have anyone in the final third that is capable of creating something from nothing. Bilbao have just become slightly wasteful, meanwhile, with their passes failing to reach the desired destination.

68 minFinally Valencia do indeed make a change as Soldado replaces Valdez, who has just struggled to get into the match this afternoon. I suspect that we will see Jonas at some point in the next 10 minutes or so. Little over 20 minutes for one of these teams to find a winner.


70 minValencia have just started to take control of the possession in the last few minutes with Soldado providing a target in the final third, but a host of challenges continue to interrupt the tempo. The match has just become slightly stop-start in the last five minutes or so. But you get the feeling that there will be a late sting in the tail.

72 minNot too much to report in terms of clear chances in the last few moments, but Valencia remain the team on the front foot. Soldado has a half-chance as he meets a bouncing ball in the box, but he can only fire past the post. Still no movement on the Bilbao bench, which is a surprise at this stage of the match.

75 minAnother half-chance comes to the away side as Piatti strikes an effort from outside the box, but it was always moving wide of the post. The opportunities are starting to fall for the away side, but Bilbao always have that threat on the counter. The supporters really need to play their part in the latter stages of this match.

77 minLittle over 10 minutes of football to play at San Mames and the score remains 0-0. We are entering the stage in the match where one goal should be enough to pick up all the points. Despite a host of attacking pressure from both sides, neither goalkeeper has been too concerned throughout the entirety of the match.

79 minThe home side do indeed make their second change of the match as Llorente replaces Ibai. Once more the boos erupt around the stadium as the Spanish striker is introduced. Some believe that he owes Bilbao, well he can repay some of that with a goal this afternoon. You just get the feeling that if we are to have a goal then it will come from a mistake or a moment of magic.

79 minHalf-chance for the away side as Parejo strikes a free kick from distance, but his effort is straight at the goalkeeper. Bilbao attempt to launch a counter down the other end, but Muniain cannot move past Barragan, who has been impressive once more. Will we have late drama in Bilbao?

79 minGOAL! Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Valencia (Muniain)

80 minOh my word! What a time for Muniain to produce! Stunning effort from the little Spaniard as he collects a loose ball in the box before thumping his effort into the top corner. The noise level is just deafening inside the stadium.

82 minWell, I said it was going to take a moment of magic and that has been the case. Can Valencia find a way back into the match in the latter stages? They have under 10 minutes to do so. Slight altercation between Muniain and Costa, but the referee takes no further action. Meanwhile, Jonas replaces Banega for Valencia.

84 minHalf-chance for the away side this time as Parejo finds Soldado in the box, but the striker can only clip over the crossbar from close range. That was the opportunity, what an incredible miss from the Spaniard. Deafening noise inside the stadium as we approach the final five minutes.

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86 minAgain it's good work from the home side as Llorente combines with Muniain before driving into the box, but Barragan is across to make the challenge. Valencia launch a counter down the other end in the shape of Costa, but his pass towards Jonas is just too short.

88 minAnother half-chance for the away side as Soldado meets a loose ball in the box, but his effort is just wide of the post. Costa wants a penalty moments later as he tumbles over under the challenge of Ekiza, but the referee is simply not interested. Will we have late drama here?

90 min+1Bilbao make their final change of the match as Toquero replaces De Marcos. The Spaniard is involved immediately as he embarks on a mazy run, but he loses possession, allowing Soldado to fire just wide of the target. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional three minutes of added time and we are indeed into the first of those.

90 min+2CHANCE! Wonderful chance for the away side as the ball falls to Soldado in the box, but the striker can only volley over the crossbar from close range. He really should be working the goalkeeper from that position. Little over one minute for Bilbao to hold on here.

90 min+3FULL-TIME: Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Valencia

12.53pmSo there we have it. Bilbao score the only goal of the match to pick up a vital three points in their fight for survival. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and join us for more La Liga football this afternoon. Until then!

Iker Muniain
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