Real Madrid’s perfect start to the La Liga season was brought to an end as Athletic Bilbao held Julen Lopetegui’s side to a 1-1 draw at San Mames.
The capital side had won three from three before their trip to the Basque country, but faced their stiffest test of the season so far against a spirited Athletic outfit. The task at hand became obvious to Real Madrid when Iker Muniain opened the scoring after 32 minutes, poking home from close range after a flicked finish from Inaki Williams.
Real Madrid emerged for the second half with fresh ideas and fresh impetuous, though, and they found an equaliser through Isco just after the hour mark, with the playmaker heading home from a wonderful outside of the boot cross from Gareth Bale.
The match was played at a breathless tempo throughout, with Real Madrid pushing hard for a late winner, but the visitors were made to settle for a point, handing Barcelona a two-point lead at the top of the La Liga table after four games.
TALKING POINT - Did we see the real impact of losing Cristiano Ronaldo on Real Madrid?
Real Madrid’s front two of Bale and Karim Benzema weren’t at their best this evening. It was only with the introduction of Isco in the second half that the away side found their groove in the final third. This is where Cristiano Ronaldo would have made a difference. The Portuguese forward was the one who stood up when Real Madrid weren’t at their best last season, getting them through games like this. Real have coped well without him so far, but tonight we saw the hole left by him at the club.
MAN OF THE MATCH - Unai Simon (Athletic Club)
The 21-year-old was thrown in at the deep end for this match with just a handful of matches for Athletic Bilbao under his belt before facing Real Madrid. But Unai Simon might just have won his team a point with his performance. Losing Kepa Arrizabalaga to Chelsea was seen to be a big blow for Athletic Club, but on this basis they already have another exceptional young goalkeeper to fill the gloves, with Simon impressive throughout.
Athletic Bilbao's Spanish midfielder Mikel Rico (L) and Athletic Bilbao's Spanish midfielder Markel Susaeta (C) celebrate after Athletic Bilbao's Spanish forward Iker Muniain (R) scored a goal during the Spanish league football match between Athletic Club
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Athletic Club - Simon 8, Martinez 7, Alvarez 6, Etxebarria 5, Berchiche 6, Garcia 5, De Marcos 6, Garcia 7, Susaeta 7, Muniain 7, Williams 7. Subs - San Jose 5, Rico 5, Capa 7.
Real Madrid - Courtois 5, Carvajal 6, Ramos 6, Varane 7, Marcelo 5, Ceballos 5, Kroos 6, Modric 6, Asensio 6, Bale 6, Benzema 5. Subs - Isco 7, Casemiro 7, Vazquez 5.
25’ SHOT FROM BERCHICHE! Athletic Bilbao come flying forward on the counter attack, with the ball swept out to the left back. He takes the shot, but Courtois makes the save.
32’ GOAL! Athletic Club 1-0 Real Madrid: Who scored it? Nobody knows, but what matters is that Athletic Bilbao have the lead over Real Madrid. Williams' flick sent the cross towards the goal, but Muniain might have nicked it from his teammate right at the end!
37’ GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... NO! Athletic Bilbao think they have scored a second goal, with Garcia turning home from a Benat freekick. But the flag was up for offside!
Athletic v Real Madrid
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40’ BIG SAVE FROM SIMON! Modric shifts the ball on to his left foot and takes the shot. It picks up a deflection, but Simon gets down to make the diving save to his right. Fantastic stop!
60’ WHAT A DOUBLE SAVE! Simon makes the save from Bale's freekick, but he spills it. Ramos pounces on the rebound, but Simon sprints out to close the angle and make the second save.
64’ GOAL! Athletic Club 1-1 Real Madrid: Real Madrid have the equaliser! What a goal it was! Bale is played down the right channel, he crosses with his wrong foot and finds the head of Isco, who directs his effort past Simon in the Athletic goal! We're level at San Mames!
69’ ASENSIO WAS CLEAN THROUGH! What an opportunity that was for Real Madrid to take the lead! Asensio was through, but Simon comes of his line to make the save. What a star!
Iker Muniain’s opening goal for Athletic Bilbao came after a sequence of 11 uninterrupted passes in 26 seconds, involving eight of their 11 players on the pitch.