On Friday night, one of La Liga’s most interesting rivalries came to town.
Athletic Bilbao hosted Real Sociedad at the San Mames Stadium to play out the Basque derby, and it was just about as passionate as you’d expect.
On the face of it, it was your typical local derby.
There was a barrel-load of yellow cards, plenty of narratives and lots of boos and cheers.
And there was goals too, with Sociedad enjoying the bragging rights with a 3-1 win.
The referee made 11 bookings on the night – although no one was sent off – one of which went to Inigo Martinez, who was facing his former employers for the second time since his move between the two clubs.
The defender joined Bilbao from Sociedad in the January transfer window as a replacement for Man City-bound Aymeric Laporte, and was typically booed with his every touch by the away fans.
So for Real fans, it was particularly sweet to see him give away a penalty for one of their goals.
On a lighter note, forward Mikel Oyarzabal netted twice to continue the Basque club’s tradition of fielding promising young talents.
After all, this is the club that once produced the great Xabi Alonso.
In fact, both sides are known for getting the best out of their youth academies, with 19 of the 28 total players who made it onto the pitch last night being graduates from the clubs’ academies.
Eight – including renowned names Inaki Williams and Iker Muniain – came from Athletic, while 11 were from Real’s Zubieta.
They’re certainly two clubs with proud traditions, and they make for a very tasty derby.
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