Bilbao lift to fifth
Athletic Bilbao fought back from an early deficit to down lowly Almeria and climb to fifth in the Primera Division on Monday.
Almeria, who had dropped to bottom place following Hercules' win this weekend, took the lead after just six minutes through Pablo Piatti, but Iker Muniain levelled before half-time. And Gaizka Toquero put Athletic ahead early in the second half before Pablo Orbaiz spectacularly clinched victory on the hour.
The opener arrived in the sixth minute when Athletic lost the ball in their own half, allowing Piatti to burst between the two centre-backs and slot a low shot past keeper Gorka Iraizoz.
Toquero twice threatened and Carlos Gurpegi headed Orbaiz's corner wide before Muniain levelled. Gurpegi again met Orbaiz's flag-kick and, when his header was saved by Diego Alves, Muniain followed up to slam the loose ball home from two yards.
Iraizoz saved from Hernan Bernadello and Leonardo Ulloa shot wide as half-time arrived with the teams still all square.
Toquero needed only seven minutes of the second period to put Athletic in front, though the goal owed much to an error from Alves. Fernando Llorente found Toquero on the right of the penalty area and he cut inside before drilling in a low shot which squirmed under the keeper and found the net.
There was nothing Alves could have done about Orbaiz's stunning third though. The midfielder was beaten to a header in midfield but was quickest to the loose ball and smashed a fantastic dipping shot past the keeper and into top right-hand corner.
Bernadello, Kalu Uche and Modeste M'Bami were all off target as Almeria sought a way back into the game. Iraizoz was almost caught out by Bernadello's corner, but was more convincing when called upon to deal with Ulloa's 20-yard effort moments later.
Piatti was off target from range and Iraizoz saved from Uche, before the latter mishit his effort when well placed in the box. Michel Macedo's block prevented Toquero further extending Athletic's lead, and Corona fired a 20-yard free-kick over the bar as Almeria's last hope slipped away.