Basque Boys III – Part 2 | @cmclassicsquads

Hola y bienvenido! to part 2. If you missed part 1, give it a read – it was a belter! After trailing Barcelona 4-1 from the 1st leg of the Super Copa Española, we completed the mother of all turnarounds, winning the 2nd leg 6-1 to lift the trophy. Now it’s time to get the league season underway…

We begin with an all-basque clash at home to Real Sociedad and unsurprisingly I stick with the newly-found 3-1-2-3-1 formation.

Most of the damage is done in the 1st half an hour, with a goal each for Laslandes and Perez, and an own goal from Bengt Andersson, who’s having a debut to forget in the Sociedad goal. Laslandes gets his 6th goal in 2 games just after half time, and it’s a good win to start the season.

Another regen gets a loan move, as Carlos Pérez joins Recreativo Huelva.

Next up are Extremadura, who stunned us 1-0 in the 2nd game of last season, but Rafa Benitez, the man who masterminded that win has now left. We lead 2-0 after a rampant 1st half. Laslandes makes it 3 early in the 2nd half, and despite their keeper being man of the match, it’s another win and clean sheet to boot.

Ríos is out for a month with a fractured jaw, but on the plus side, Lizarazu returns.

The draw for the 1st round of the Cup Winners’ Cup is made, and we’re away to Werder Bremen. Without wanting to jinx things, our chances aren’t looking too bad going by the rest of the draw.

But before that, we’ve a couple of league games to play, starting at home to Valladolid, who’ve had a tough start to the season with no win in 4 games. Alkorta gets us off the mark, and then there are 3 goals in 8 minutes, including Etxebe’s 1st of the season, albeit at the wrong end. There’s little action in the 2nd half, and it ends 3-1 in front of a club record crowd of 60,224.

Next are newly-promoted Logroñes. They punish our wastefulness before Laslandes scores for the 5th game running and it’s 1-1 at half time. Their keeper Adolfo Baines (no relation to Leighton), is a Basque boy and is on fire. We can’t beat him in the 2nd half, and he’s man of the match, which earns him a place on my shortlist. It’s a disappointing result after such a great start.

The Spanish FA decide to sack Javier Clemente, despite having already qualified for next summer’s Euros while not conceding a goal. The mind boggles.

Time for our 1st European game, and it’s German side Werder Bremen. The hosts lead from the spot, and we equalise in kind through Guerrero less than a minute later and it’s 2-1 at half time via Alkiza. A Perez goal before the hour and a couple of late ones from Guerrero and sub Huegun cap a 5-1 win, which will take some overturning.

Back to matters domestic, and bottom of the table Salamanca at home. They’re managed by basque boy Andoni Goikoetxea, A.K.A. The butcher of Bilbao. It’s a frustrating 1st half and we can’t make all our pressure count. The 2nd half is the same, and a quick-fire Agustín Ruiz brace gives us our 1st defeat of the season despite 17 shots at goal. The board rightly say abysmal result.

The national side weren’t managerless for long, and appoint Fabio Capello as their new boss. Some more injury news follows, with Loinaz and Laslandes sidelined.

Transfer deadline day arrives. Both my reserve keepers are stalling over new deals, so Lafuente is dropped to the B team, and I splash £2.2m on the aforementioned Baines from Logroñes. Just look at that average rating and all those man of the match awards!

Back to the match action, and it’s next stop, Seville. Having spent last season on loan with the Andalusians, Huegun returns to haunt them and scores the only goal of the game on 24 minutes. We manage 9/14 shots on target, and their keeper has a 9/10, but it’s Roberto Rios’ day, and he’s named man of the match.

Just as he’s basque-ing in the glory in training the next day, Ríos suffers a twisted knee and is out for a couple of weeks. Arr, ‘tis a cruel game.

The final game this week is the return leg with Werder Bremen. Santi Ezquerro gets us off the mark with his 1st Basque Boys goal on 7 minutes. Werder have a goal disallowed on 21, but make up for it 14 minutes later. There’s nothing to report for the rest of the game, and we’re into the next round, with £250k in the bank.

The draw for the next round follows, with Feyenoord the biggest side not to make it through. We’ll face Dinamo Moscow, which I’m not too disappointed with, although I’d have liked the away leg first.

The draw for the Copa Del Rey 3rd round is also made, and we start our defence of the trophy against our old foes Real Oviedo.

So that’s it for this week, and here’s the table after 6 games. Atletico Madrid lead the way, but we’re not far behind despite poor results against Logroñes and Salamanca. We’ve not scored as many as we might have if we were playing 2-3-1-2-2, but our goals conceded column definitely looks a lot healthier than normal.

Join us next week, where the league games start to get a lot tougher as we face both Real Madrid and Barcelona. Adios, amigos!

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