The points were shared between Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad in the Basque Derby, in a 0-0 draw at the San Mames on Saturday.
One of the big talking points, before the game had even started, was the exclusion of 23-year-old Bilbao ‘keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, who, earlier in the week had agreed a deal to sign for Real Madrid. Iago Herrerin took his place.
The game had started in a quite scrappy manner, but it was Sociedad who had the first significant opportunity after 20 minutes, as Mikel Oyarzabal was played through one-on-one, but he scuffed his shot wide.
Six minutes later, Asier Illaramendi came close too, after Willian José’s header across the penalty area was met on the half volley by Illara, but his shot went just wide.
The game was really picking up in chances, and two minutes later Bilbao were inches from scoring. Lekue’s cross was initially meant for Aritz Aduriz, but the ball slid over his head and found an open Mikel Rico, and his cross-goal shot was inches wide.
It was a game of “almosts”, with the final pass not quite making it to the respective strikers, and it was Athletic who were dominating the second half, with chances falling to Aduriz, Raul Garcia and Oscar De Marcos, but some good goalkeeping from Geronimo Rulli and some sensational last ditch defending was enough to keep the ball out of the Sociedad net.
Bilbao also had a massive shout for a penalty waved away after Aduriz claimed he had been barged down by Diego Llorente, but the referee waved play on.
Past the hour mark, the game fizzled into a series of substitutions and yellow cards for both teams, and there weren’t many more chances of note.
Athletic next travel to Seville, to face Quique Setien’s Real Betis side, who are currently sat in 14th, on exactly the same number of points as Bilbao, although Los Verdiblancos are still to play this weekend, they travel to Malaga on Monday.
Sociedad’s next test will be a tough one, as they host Sevilla, who will be disappointed following their 0-0 home draw against Levante.