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Athletic Bilbao defeat Real Valladolid in opening World Cup friendly

Athletic Bilbao earned a 2-0 win over Real Valladolid at CD Mirandés' Estadio Anduva in their first friendly of the World Cup break.

Gorka Guruzeta's first-half strike, followed by an Oihan Sancet goal after the restart saw Los Leones take a well-earned win.

Athletic were eager to get back on the pitch and this friendly against a LaLiga opponent put the Lions in good stead for the rest of their warm-up matches before official competition returns.

Over the next two weeks, Athletic will also face Chivas (San Mamés, Sunday 11 December), Burgos CF (Burgos, Thursday 15 December) and Udinese Calcio (Udine, Saturday 17 December).

Los Rojiblancos set out to control the match from the off, having the majority of possession throughout the encounter. Valladolid's limited chances came in the first half thanks to their high pressing, but they never really looked like scoring.

Guruzeta gave Athletic the lead with a great finish in the 29th minute. The striker collected a pass from Yuri in the box, before dipping his shoulder and creating some space to send a powerful shot past Álvaro Aceves.

Valverde made eight changes for the second half and Los Rojiblancos continued in the same vein as in the first 45 minutes.

Oihan Sancet did not take long to double Athletic's lead, calmly controlling a great through ball from Mikel Balenziaga before slotting past the Valladolid keeper.

Julen Agirrezabala and his replacement Ander Iru both made fine saves to ensure Athletic kept a clean sheet, but in general the Lions remained mostly untroubled as they wrapped up the win.



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