Athletic Club – Real Madrid: Zidane’s Black Magic Conjures Up A Vital Victory (0-1)
As the end of the season nears, Real Madrid entered this contest looking for the three points above everything else. Their display did little to impress, probing without penetration in the final third for much of the game. But an unlikely duo from a set-piece broke the deadlock in fortuitous fashion, keeping the champions’ hope of defending their crown on the final day alive.
Tactical analysis and match report by Emmanuel Adeyemi-Abere.
Athletic Club had little on the line to play for. Making their mark in 2021 as a cup side, they won the Supercup while losing Copa del Rey finals to Real Sociedad and Barcelona. In the meantime, league matters have been less exciting, as the side sit ninth in the table. But in a year where the Basque outfit have upstaged giants, they now looked to cause one final upset and put a dent in their guests’ dreams.
Real Madrid's last stand in their pursuit of the LaLiga title continued with this contest. Clinging onto their status of league champions, the visitors sat two points adrift of their cross-city rivals. But, now also facing the first of two comparatively sterner tests, the task that lay before Real over the next week was clear. Nothing less than six points from six would keep alive realistic hope of retaining the crown.
Athletic Club manager Marcelino went for a 4-4-2 system. He then made five tweaks to the starting eleven that lost in midweek to Huesca. Of those, a notable change was the return of Yeray Álvarez from injury to partner Iñigo Martínez at the heart of the back four. Further afield, Iñaki Williams came back to the . . .