A miracle gave Athletic Bilbao room to breathe. It came courtesy of Iker Muniain's first league goal and left Valencia rueing their inability to convert an impressive second half performance into points. The win eases the pressure on 'Los Leones' and takes them one step closer to safety. Valencia, meanwhile, have taken one step back in their push for the Champions League spot, though if they put in the same performances in the remaining games they won't be far away.
Athletic grabbed a goal at a time that caught almost everyone off guard. Before Muniain found the top corner with his right boot, Bielsa had made a double substitution, bringing on Llorente and Aduriz. La Catedral celebrated like there was no tomorrow, like they had just won a final. Yet Valencia refused to throw in the towel and carved outnumerous clear chances, particularly for Soldado, who on one occasion failed to connect properly and sent the ball sailing over from close range.
Valverde was more than aware that Athletic would put up a fight and made the necessary changes, leaving Soldado, Jonas and Albelda on the bench. However, on the half-hour mark he had to bring on the captain (Albelda) in place of the injured Víctor Ruiz. Both teams locked horns in the first half and the whole affair after forty-five minutes had 0-0 written all over it, with the likes of Inai and Tino Costa being forced to try their luck from range. Aduriz was the first to go close with a header, but Valencia held firm in defence, despite their lack of cohesion in attack as they struggled to get the ball out to Feghouli and Piatti on the wings.
José Antonio Teixeira's refereeing was perplexing; though his life wasn't made easier by the other officials as Athletic were denied a clear penalty after Adurix was brought down by Tino Costa in the 34th minute. Everything changed in the second half.
Valencia came out after the break with fresh impetus and began to toy with and torment 'Los Leones'. The referee, however, did make up for the earlier penalty shout and let Athletic off the hook after a handball from Aduriz. The visitors then began to create chances for fun, led by the impressive Feghouli. Unfortunately for them the missed chances that fell to Piatti, Feghouli, and Soldado were not enough to turn their superiority into points and Muniain's effort was enough to ensure the points stayed in Bilbao.