Quique Setién made several changes to the starting line-up in an attempt to combat their fiery opponents, Athletic Club. The introduction of Livaja in place of Araujo, who was waiting for his chance from the bench, and the inclusion of Helder Lopes, Vicente Gómez and David García, were the main changes made to the team that went down last week against Betis in the Villamarín. It was a game Las Palmas wanted to put behind them by picking up the three points against the team from Bilbao.
Las Palmas looked to get control of possession from the kick off while Bilbao played with more urgency, creating danger on the counter attack, this being the pattern for the first quarter of an hour. Jonathan Viera went close with a direct free kick and nearly opened the scoring.
The pressure exerted by the Basque team made itself felt on Quique Setién’s team, pure physical power unleashed by Ernesto Valverde’s players, with Aritz Aduriz being particularly dangerous when prowling around Javi Varas’ goal. Athletic Club were pushing hard from the first whistle showing they wanted to get something out of this game. The first half went by with no real chances on either side.
In the 40th minute, a move initiated by Tana and continued by Michel, who passed the ball into the danger zone was collected by Prince who smashed the ball into the net, making it the fifth goal by the Ghana international this season. It was important goal that set the team up for victory, although there was still a long way to go, and we went in at half time with a 1-0 scoreline.
Prince could not return to the field in the second half due to a slight injury and his position was taken by Momo in midfield. Bad news, in the hope that not too much damage had been done to U.D. Las Palmas’ top scorer. They started the second half ahead, and were looking to finish off their tough opponents with a second goal, which finally materialised from Momo´s boots after a through ball by Tana, who a little bit later would crash the ball against the woodwork.
The second goal clarified things for the home team, even more so when Aduriz was sent off. However, a hotly-disputed penalty for supposed handball by Michel Macedo was converted by Raúl García, reducing the arrears and made things much more uncertain. Again the last few minutes were not for the faint-hearted. Roque saw his fifth yellow card and is ruled out of the next game at Mendizarroza on Sunday. His place was taken by Montoro. Javi Varas prevented an equalizer by Elustondo, and then Jonathan Viera rounded things off with a counter attack and a clever lob to gain some breathing space and put the game beyond Athletic’s reach, 3-1.
In the end UD Las Palmas recorded an important victory, and the hard work got its just reward, with three more points to keep climbing the table.