Athletic Bilbao's hopes of qualifying for the Champions League took a painful hit on Monday when the Basque club could only draw 0-0 at last-place Almeria despite playing with a man advantage for most of the second half. A win would have taken Athletic above Atletico Madrid into fourth place in La Liga but Ernesto Valverde's team struggled against a defensive home side. Crystal Palace 1–3 Chelsea, Premier League 2023–24: Conor Gallagher Inspires Comeback Win for Blues Against Former Club (Watch Goal Video Highlights).
“We feel it's not enough because we had the ball for so much of the game,” said Athletic's Óscar de Marcos. “It's frustrating not to have more clear chances when the game was in our favor.”
Missing top scorer Gorka Goruzeta and in-form winger Nico Williams, Athletic played against 10 men after winger Largie Ramazani was sent off in the 53rd minute. Raul Garcia hit the post for Athletic in what was his 600th league appearance, but the team's stuttering start to the year will concern Valverde. After winning nine of its 11 games between the start of November and mid January, Athletic has picked up only four of 12 points since. Serie A 2023–24: Wasteful Juventus Jeered off the Field After 1–0 Loss to Udinese Leaves Title Hopes in Tatters.
Almeria, meanwhile, could celebrate what was just its seventh point of the season — all from draws. The south coast club has not won a league match all season and has lost 17. It sits 13 points from safety. The result means Athletic remains in fifth, two points behind Atletico Madrid. Real Madrid tops the table, five points clear of Girona.
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