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Inaki Williams shakes off injury concerns to play his 237th straight La Liga game for Athletic Bilbao vs Espanyol

21:28 EAT 04/09/2022
Inaki Williams Athletic Club 2022-23
The Ghana forward recovered just in time to extend his record-breaking feat in the Spanish top-flight as the Basque side fell to the Catalans

Inaki Williams’ incredible record of playing in every La Liga match since April 20, 2016 continued on Sunday as he shook of injury concerns to make it 237 consecutive appearances for Athletic Bilbao in their 1-0 loss to Espanyol.

The Ghana forward went down injured in last Monday’s 4-0 victory over Cadiz and there were fears that he would not be available for Sunday’s clash due to a sprained ankle, but he recovered just in time to extend his record-breaking run and keep his six-and-a-half-year feat intact.

It was, however, not a good outing for Williams as Athletic’s unbeaten start to the La Liga season was snapped thanks to a goal from debutant Martin Braithwaite, seeing the Basque club miss a chance to go unbeaten against Espanyol in six straight top-flight matches for the first time since 1946.

Williams started as the lone striker upfront but had an unproductive day, only managing two shots, both off target, while missing one big chance.

The Basque-born forward, who switched allegiance from Spain to Ghana in July, played 71 minutes before he was replaced by veteran forward Raul Garcia, leaving the pitch with a 64 per cent pass accuracy after managing seven of his 11 passes.

Regarded as a club legend having honed his skills at Athletic Bilbao, where he has been since 2012, Williams made his La Liga debut in December 2014, starting in a 1-0 home loss to Cordoba.

He broke the record for the most consecutive appearances in La Liga in October 2021, knocking Juanan Larranaga, a legend of Basque rivals Real Sociedad, off the top spot, to earn popularity among the Athletic fans.

Williams has now made 344 appearances for the club while scoring 74 goals and opened his 2022-23 account when he netted once in the 4-0 win over Cadiz last Monday.

Athletic feared Williams had suffered sprained ankle ligaments in the victory at Cadiz, which can normally keep players out for up to three months.

Having shaken off the issue, Ghana coach Otto Addo will be hoping the forward keeps his incredible run going until the 2022 World Cup where Williams is expected to be among the strikers the Black Stars will line up in Qatar.