Diego Lopez salvaged a point for Real Madrid as Los Merengues were down to ten men against Athletic Bilbao for almost 20 minutes, following Carlos Gurpegui’s unsporting gesture that got Cristiano Ronaldo sent off.
It was an incredible battle at the so called Cathedral of Football, San Mames. Both teams had chances to win the game, but Jese’s and Ibai Gomez’s goals gave each one point, preventing Los Blancos from moving into second after Barcelona’s loss.
Los Blancos played brilliantly during the opening ten minutes, moving the ball fast and making Athletic run. However, the hosts soon started to apply a high pressure.
The Basques’ five-man midfield made it impossible for Xabi Alonso and Luka Modric bring the game back to their pace. In fact, Bilbao started surrounding Madrid’s penalty area and they could have gone in front.
Aritz Aduriz missed a massive chance after stabbing the ball through the middle of the defence with a neat touch and sending a left-footed shot wide of the post. In the following play, Iker Muniain lost control of the ball as he faced Diego Lopez inside the box.
Pepe and Sergio Ramos defending was solid and that prevented Athletic from threatening Lopez again. Nevertheless Real’s forwards seemed lost, and their only chance in the first half was a volley that Ronaldo sent above the bar.
Modric and Ronaldo brought some light out of darkness in the second half. The Croatian and Benzema had a couple of chances to make it 0-1, but they both were denied by Gorka Iraizoz.
Athletic players started to lose concentration and Real took the lead following Ander Iturraspe’s mistake. Benzema slid a pass for Ronaldo; the Portuguese assisted Jese perfectly and the youngster sent the ball to the back of the net.
However, things changed completely in just a couple of minutes. Ibai Gomez scored a wonderful goal as he came in from the bench, catching a loose ball and rifling a superb strike into the bottom corner.
In the next play, Ronaldo was sent off for putting his hand into the face of Carlos Gurpegui, who took a dive, showing very unsporting behaviour.
From that moment until the end, Real struggled to keep Athletic away from their penalty area, but Diego Lopez salvage a point for Los Blancos with a couple of quality saves.