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Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Granada

Athletic BilbaoAthletic Bilbao
GranadaGranada
0
1
FT
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Former Athletic Bilbao coach Joaquin Caparros enjoyed a happy return to San Mames as he saw his Granada side come away with a 1-0 win thanks to a first-half goal by Jhon Cordoba.

The Colombian forward struck six minutes before half-time, and he and his team-mates then withstood a late wave of pressure to move on to eight points while also remaining unbeaten.

Athletic, meanwhile, look a shadow of the team that romped to fourth place and Champions League qualification last season, suffering their third defeat of the new campaign.

Ernesto Valverde made a total of six changes to his starting line-up following the 0-0 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk in midweek and Athletic were a far cry from their usual intense and fluid selves.

Gorka Iraizoz had to get down low to save from Ruben Rochina with just 10 minutes gone as Granada made a bright start to the game, although his opposite number Roberto was forced to make an even better stop 10 minutes before the break to keep out a trademark header from Aritz Aduriz.

However, it was Iraizoz who was picking the ball out of his net a few minutes later. Cordoba dispossessed the usually assured Ander Iturraspe in midfield and raced freely towards goal, firing between the goalkeeper's legs.

Iraizoz reacted quickly to prevent Granada from adding a second shortly after the break, racing out of his goal to boot a through ball away before Dimitri Foulquier got to it.

Athletic stepped up their pursuit of an equaliser as the minutes passed. Aduriz shot just wide of a post after a fine piece of skill in the area and then attempted an overhead kick, but made little contact with the ball sending it well wide of goal.

Mikel Rico came closest to finding the equaliser, flicking a header towards the back post from a corner, but his effort went beyond the goal as well as the outstretched foot of Mikel San Jose.

Athletic then won three corners in injury time but, on the only occasion the cross got beyond the Granada defence, Roberto tipped Iturraspe's header over the bar, giving the Andalucians all three points.

ends

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