Imanol’s team besieged Rijeka’s goal in the final minutes until they won a prize (0-1)
After more than a thousand days the Royal Society returned to Europe. He did it in Rijeka, on the shores of the Adriatic, a stage with an audience, apparently much more than the 3,000 that set Croatian health standards, and also without a mask. The screaming and clapping was for real, not canned. No one, however, was surprised by the new situation. Not the San Sebastian at least.
La Real played as almost always, with that elegant touch that their players are supposed to be, even if they lacked tusks when they reached the area. Only in the discount was Jon Bautista able to scrape all three points, after completing a quarter of an hour of total siege to the Croatian goal and after an excellent combination between Silva and Merino.
Rijeka was not impressed by Real’s good league record. He admitted his inferiority from the beginning, but in that modesty he found his virtue, because, despite his limitations, he did not renounce anything, and at times, he made the Sheriff’s team stiff. To avoid doubts, the locals wanted to mark ground from the beginning. The captain, Andrijasevic – his father played for Celta – saw the yellow card for an elbow to Merino at 30 seconds. The Croatian team came out intense, perhaps too much, although it tempered with the passing of the minutes, and knew how to stop Real, which struck more often on the Portu band, well synchronized with Gorosabel, because the left did not work things, and those who usually carry the weight, Silva and Oyarzabal, were confused with the landscape.
Despite everything, the first part was entertained, by the gallops of the Murcian extreme, which created more than one headache for the Croatian defense, and also by the local counterattacks, conducted with neatness, and that put Remiro in trouble, who he was effective in his few appearances. Aritz Elustondo’s concentration from start to finish kept the Croatian attackers dry. Le Normand, the other central defender, had the best chance, when he was left off the hook in the Rijeka area and headed a ball that came bouncing, and after the shot crashed with the crossbar.
Real were unable to sink their teeth into Rijeka for the initial 45 minutes, and that seemed to be the keynote after the break. Realistic football was thickened, losing some of its freshness. Merino insisted, but without finding answers, and Portu had the tap turned off for a long time. I no longer explored the routes through the band as in the beginning.
Imanol moved the bench in the last quarter of an hour, and the new players cheered the show up again. Isak, who stayed in a couple of strokes, left his position to Willian José, who promises more forcefulness in the area. Rijeka came back, already very tired, Real squeezed, and one of the last substitutions, Jon Bautista for Oyarzabal, who had just crashed a ball into the post and went to the stands heading for the lost opportunity, it worked. In the discount, already desperate, the Real played again to rebato. Silva received at the edge of the area, opened to the left for Merino, who served in parallel for Bautista to shoot from near Nevistic, without remission. The quality of the play deserved its conclusion. Next week Anoeta visits Napoli, in need after their defeat in the Netherlands against AZ. Sparks can jump already on the second day.