The hosts came into the game with momentum after their 6-1 victory over CD Eldense in the Copa del Rey last week, while the visitors needed extra time to sneak past third tier Gimnàstic de Torrelavega. With challenging games against Real Sociedad and champions Real Madrid on the horizon, the top four-chasing Leones knew the importance of victory from this match, and they were in control throughout the first half. Joint-top scorer Gorka Guruzeta should have done better with his shot from the edge of the area early on, which he mishit and fired well wide, before Oscar de Marcos shot straight at Aitor Fernández from distance. The Osasuna stopper then did well to cut out de Marcos’ cross from the byline, with Oihan Sancet waiting to sweep it home.
Ernesto Valverde’s side have won their last two matches against Gorritxoak, and they had two further opportunities to take the lead before HT. Firstly, livewire Nico Williams saw his effort from just outside the area curl narrowly wide of the left post, before Guruzeta had his volley inside the area denied by a fine diving save from Fernández, who was helping to keep the visitors in the contest.
Athletic Bilbao are in pursuit of their first UEFA Champions League appearance since 2014/15, something which will be ensured by a top-four finish, and they continued to be the team showing the initiative throughout the second half. The home fans thought their side had taken the lead just after the hour mark when Guruzeta rolled the ball in from Williams’ squared pass, however the linesman’s flag went up for offside.
It was one-way traffic from Leones in the closing stages, but they were unable to find the winning goal, and had to settle for a point which means they remain seventh with Osasuna climbing one place to eighth.
Flashscore Man of the Match: Aitor Fernández (Osasuna)