Europe

Real Mallorca draw opening fixture of the season

Athletic Club Bilbao looked to get their La Liga campaign off to a winning start but were frustrated by a stubborn RCD Mallorca side this evening.

Athletic Club Bilbao started the stronger side as the home side looked to take an early lead. Inaki Williams was the go-to man for Bilbao as they often sought to pick him out.

Athletic has two great chances to take the lead in the first half. Mikel Vesga hit the post with a shot, while Alejandro Berenguer had an attempt beaten away by Predrag Rajković in the Mallorca goal.

The hosts continued to show more promise but could not break the deadlock. Mallorca were reduced to small attempts in the first half but never got a clear shot on goal.

Athletic then had two attempts in two minutes as Williams first picked out Asier Villalibre, who headed wide. Óscar de Marcos then put in a cross towards Iker Muniain, who could only poke it into Rajković’s waiting arms.

Athletic started the second half much like the first and were relentless in their attempts to find an opening goal.

Williams was denied early on, and then Yuri Berchiche hit the post minutes later.

Mallorca almost snatched a goal against the run of play in the 65th minute when Lee Kang-in directed a header goalward. Unai Simón, who was a spectator for most of the game, produced a brilliant dive to knock the ball away.

Rajković produced a similarly stunning save to deny Athletic at the other end. A deflection of a defender looked certain to find the back of the net, but Rajković produced a last-ditch stretch with his fingertips to keep the ball out.

Rajković then denied Nico Williams minutes later to keep his side in the game. Despite intense pressure by Athletic, Mallorca would hold on for a well-deserved draw.

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