Bilbao adds misery to Zaragoza’s season
Athletic Bilbao had Javi Martinez sent off after 21 minutes but still managed to see off the Primera Division’s bottom club Real Zaragoza 2-1 after they also went down to 10 men.
Bilbao took an early lead when Market Susaeta netted seven minutes in but lost Martinez with almost 70 minutes still to play when he conceded a penalty for a foul on Angel Lafita.
Leonardo Ponzio equalised from the spot but Bilbao took the points when Gaizka Toquero scored in the 87th minute, by which time Maurizio Lanzaro had picked up two yellow cards.
Susaeta had his first shot at goal in the fourth minute, drawing a save from Jimenez Roberto.
He tested the goalkeeper again from the edge of the area moments later, but it was third time lucky in the seventh minute when he slotted home right-footed from inside the box.
Only the post prevented Fernando Amorebieta making it 2-0 as he headed Iker Muniain’s corner against the woodwork.
Lafita was hauled down by the departing Martinez with 21 minutes gone, and Ponzio made no mistake from the spot.
Zaragoza were noticeably lifted and started to enjoy more possession in the opposition half, though Lafita and Lanzaro both missed the target.
Bilbao successfully stifled their opponents until half-time but they pressed again after the resumption.
Lafita looked most likely to break through and he worked Gorka Iraizoz with a dangerous strike after 54 minutes.
Lanzaro’s second yellow card evened up the numbers for the final 20 minutes and, unsurprisingly, Bilbao found a way back into the game.
With three minutes left on the clock, Oscar De Marcos worked the ball into the six-yard box and towards the waiting Toquero, who provided the finish.
The result leaves Zaragoza rooted to the bottom of the standings and three points adrift, while Bilbao remain in mid-table.