Striker Aritz Aduriz scored twice to give Athletic Bilbao a 2-1 victory at Granada on Sunday, the struggling Basque side’s first away win of the La Liga season.
Bilbao finally showed flashes of the attacking verve that led them to the finals of the UEFA Europa League and the Copa del Rey last season, and made them one of the surprises of European soccer with memorable wins over Manchester United.
Aduriz converted a spot-kick 13 minutes in after he was fouled by defender Pape Diakhate. The former Valencia player then added a second with a precise shot from the edge of the area in the 27th minute to take his scoring tally to eight goals in the league this season.
Flowing freely up front, Bilbao still showed the same fragile defense that has plagued them all season when Granada striker Youssef El Arabi pulled one back in the 53rd minute after teammate Yacine Brahimi had clipped the post, as Bilbao were fortunate not to concede a draw.
“The word ‘suffering’ defines our match,” Bilbao coach Marcelo Bielsa said. “This is a necessary win, it will calm our nerves. We needed to play the same way on the road as we do at home. We have to return to being a more balanced and consistent team.”
Bilbao’s third win of the season through 10 rounds lifted them two points above the relegation zone.
Levante UD, meanwhile, earned a 0-0 draw at Sevilla to remain unbeaten in four games and move up to fifth place.
Sevilla outshot Levante 17-1, but the closest them came to breaking through the visitors’ well-disciplined defense was Jose Campana’s shot that took a deflection off a defender before hitting the crossbar six minutes from time.
Also on Sunday, RCD Espanyol won 1-0 at Real Sociedad for their first away victory, while RC Deportivo de La Coruna ended an eight-game winless streak by edging visitors RCD Mallorca 1-0.
Sociedad had dominated the game at the Estadio Anoeta until Diego Colotto tapped in a short pass from fellow centerback Hector Moreno while sprawled on the ground following a corner in the 77th minute.
Sociedad coach Philippe Montanier had to hear part of the crowd calling for his resignation after his team remained winless in four games, including the Copa del Rey.
“My team never gave up at any moment,” said Espanyol coach Mauricio Pochettino, adding that his side was fortunate to take the three points “because there is always a luck factor you need to go your way in any game.”
At the Riazor, Bruno Gama scored what proved to be Deportivo’s winner on the half-hour mark when the forward first cut left, then right to get clear and fire the ball in off the far post.
Luis “Pizzi” Afonso almost doubled the hosts’ lead when his free-kick hit the woodwork as rain and sleet fell heavily on the pitch, but Mallorca’s toothless attack condemned them to a fifth straight defeat.
“We are all angry with the loss, but in football the goal is the law,” Mallorca coach Joaquin Caparros said. “We had the ball and tried to vary it in attack, but it wasn’t enough.”
Elsewhere, Patrick Ebert’s late goal gave Real Valladolid a 1-0 win at 10-man CA Osasuna, leaving the Pamplona-based club languishing in last place.
Osasuna went down a man when Ruben Gonzalez received his second booking in the 71st minute and Ebert finished off a counterattack in the 83rd with an exquisite chip that the helpless goalkeeper could only watch float overhead and fall into his open net.