It took 14 games, a managerial departure and some woeful finishing but finally, on their return to the top flight, Cordoba have notched up their first 3 points of the campaign. The victory came away at Bilbao, with a solitary goal from Algerian forward Nabil Ghilas separating the two sides after 90 minutes.
It was Cordoba’s first win in the top-flight for 42 years, and the victory takes them off the foot of the table and in to 18th place on ten points. They survived an onslaught from Athletic in the second-half but Miroslav Djukic’s men held on for all three points.
The Basque side had been on a good run as of late, following 2 wins in the league and a 1-0 victory over Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League. Their top scorer, Aritz Aduriz, missed the game with a hamstring injury which he picked up in the week, so the club gave a debut to 20 year-old Inaki Williams who had only started training with the first team less than a week ago.
Cordoba had gone into the game still without a win, and no sign of that changing with two defeats in the last two weeks against Villarreal and Granada. However, a goal in the first half from Ghilas gave the visitors hope, as the Algerian forward capitalised on a poor pass from Itturaspe, breaking through on a goal and slotting the ball into the near side midway through the first half.
Athletic saw the best of the play in the first half, with new-man Inaki Williams’ claim for a penalty being dismissed by the referee. Moving into the second 45, Bilbao ramped up the pressure on the visitors with Susaeta firing a pass across the face of goal but nobody was there to tap the ball home. De Marcos also saw two of his headers saved by Cordoba keeper Juan Carlos who had a solid game in between the posts.
Bilbao were unable to find that elusive goal to equalise and thus Cordoba came away worthy victors in what was a difficult game at the San Mames Stadium.
Hopefully they will be able to build on this result, as they come up against a struggling Levante side who sit just two places above them in 16th.
Bilbao, meanwhile, must pick themselves up after this disappointing home defeat as they host BATE Borisov in midweek in the Champions League. Even though they can’t qualify for the next stage of the competition, the match will decide who takes 3rd spot and progresses into the Europa League. Their next opponent in the league are Real Sociedad who, under new manager David Moyes, got battered 4-0 at the weekend against Villarreal.
Athletic Club still have some climbing to do if they are to qualify for next season’s Champions League after a disappointing start in the Primera Division.