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Inaki’s sublime strike sinks Chukwueze’s Villarreal as Athletic Bilbao end four-match winless run

1:19 AM IST 31/10/22
Inaki Williams
Inaki Williams’ goal was the difference as Athletic Bilbao beat Villarreal 1-0 in a La Liga clash at San Mames on Sunday.
  • Inaki on target for second time in three games
  • Ghana striker had highest ratings for Athletic Bilbao
  • Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze had no impact

WHAT HAPPENED? Inaki scored his fifth goal in 12 matches after latching onto Raul Garcia’s defence-splitting pass to slot the ball into the net in the 59th minute.

The Ghana international started upfront for Athletic Club and was a menace for Villarreal’s defenders Pau Torres and Aissa Mandi as they struggled to match his pace with only poor finishing denying the 28-year-old more goals.

While Inaki shone for the home side, Nigeria’s Samuel Chukwueze struggled to make an impact after starting on the right side of the Yellow Submarine’s attack before he was replaced in the 64th minute by Yeremi Pino.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: It was the fifth goal of the season for Inaki and his second in the last three games as Athletic Club ended their four-match winless run, having last tasted a win on September 30.

The 28-year-old continued his incredible run of consecutive La Liga appearances for his club to 245 in what was his 352nd game for the Basque club.

To put it in context, the last time Inaki missed a La Liga game, Villarreal new coach Quique Setien was in his first season with Las Palmas (2015-16) and he has since handled Real Betis (2017-19) and Barcelona (2020) before joining the Yellow Submarine.

Victory took Athletic Club to fifth on the table with 21 points, two behind Atletico Madrid in third, and one adrift of fourth-placed Real Sociedad who took on Real Betis in Sunday’s late kickoff.

ALL EYES ON: Chukwueze was keen to get his first league goal after netting his third of the season against Israeli side Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Europa Conference League on Thursday but he had no impact after being well-contained by the Athletic defence.

THE VERDICT: Three of Inaki’s five goals have come in the last six matches and his form should delight Ghana coach Otto Addo ahead of the World Cup.

WHAT’S NEXT? Athletic Club face Girona in their next La Liga match on Friday and Inaki will hope to be on the scoresheet yet again.