First Division - Day 17

Albacete 1 - Athletic Bilbao 1

Albacete: Almunia; Oscar Montiel, Pablo, Buades, Peña; Iván Díaz, Viaud (Parri 55'), Álvaro Rubio (David Sánchez 74'), Delporte; Pacheco, Aranda (Mikel 82'). 4-4-2.
Athletic: Aranzubia; César, Luis Prieto, Karanka, Larrazábal; Gurpegui, Tiko; Etxeberría (Arriaga 85'), Ezquerro (Bordas 92'), Yeste (Jonan García 62'); Urzaiz. 4-2-3-1.

Team changes: Albacete: Aranda for Mikel / Athletic: Luis Prieto, Larrazábal for Del Horno, Orbaiz.

1-0. 14. Aranda. Picked up ball outside area and fired long shot past keeper.
1-1. 41. Ezquerro. First time volley past keeper from Urzaiz's lofted pass.

Athletic Bilbao drop out of the European spots to eighth place after they came from behind to draw 1-1 at Albacete. A 17,300 capacity crowd turned up to watch local striker Aranda put his side in front on his return to the team after an injury, the ex Real Madrid B forward picking up a ball from Pacheco and firing a long shot past Aranzubia.

Up to that point the Basques had not been in the match, but gradually they won control in midfield. A well organized defence limited them to long pots at goal though, until Urzaiz finally found a way through, picking out the unmarked Ezquerro with a chipped pass for him to volley the ball into the roof of the net.

The locals could have re-established the lead before the break though, Aranda shooting over when free in front of Aranzubia and the keeper saving well from Pacheco, referee Pérez Burrull waving away claims for a possible penalty on the forward in the play leading up to his shot at goal.

Either side could have won it in a lively second half, with Etxeberría hitting the bar with a cross-come-shot and Aranda having a goal disallowed for a dubious offside, and Aranzubia saving from Mikel's header near the end. But in the end a fair result, which leaves Albacete in a comfortable fourteenth place, five points clear of the relegation zone.