Athletic Bilbao rebounded from their embarrassing elimination to a third-tier side in the Copa del Rey by winning 1-0 at Mallorca in Spain’s Primera Division on Saturday thanks to Aritz Aduriz’s early goal.
Aduriz scored his team-high 10th league goal of the season in the 11th minute, perfectly targeting his header to send Andoni Iraola’s long cross past goalkeeper Dudu Aouate.
Mallorca, coached by former Bilbao manager Joaquin Caparros, reacted well but failed to beat inspired goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz, who made five quality saves to deny forward Giovani Dos Santos and striker Tomer Hemed before half-time.
But after Victor Casadesus missed the open net from inside the area in the 53rd, Mallorca visibly wilted as their winless streaked reached 11 rounds.
In the late game, Malaga strengthened their hold on fourth place with a 2-0 win at Sevilla.
Caparros is one of several coaches in Spain under increasing pressure to turn things around. His team is flirting with relegation and are on the verge of exiting the Copa after being trounced 5-0 by Sevilla.
Bilbao were ousted from the Copa on Wednesday by fellow Basque club Eibar.
Earlier on Saturday, Getafe forward Diego Castro converted a penalty kick in injury time to rescue a 1-1 home draw with 10-man Osasuna.
Castro scored three minutes into injury time after Oier Sanjurjo was harshly ruled to have handled in the area. Television replays showed that the ball hit the Osasuna player’s back when he slid to intercept a pass.
“I don’t think even the (referee and line judge) were sure. They took a long time to rule it a penalty, and that makes you wonder,” said Osasuna coach Mendilibar.
“It’s normal that my players are so angry about such a huge mistake.”
Osasuna had gone in front in the 84th minute through striker Kike Sola’s individual effort after the visitors were reduced to 10 men in the 77th when Emiliano Armenteros was shown a red card for a rough tackle on Juan Valera.
Getafe remained unbeaten in five games and stayed in seventh place.
“This was our poorest performance of the five games we have played without a loss,” said Getafe coach Luis Garcia.
Osasuna, meanwhile, continued to improve with only one loss in six rounds.