Draw enough for Almeria
Almeria secured their status in the Primera Division for another season after holding Athletic Bilbao to a goalless draw.
Last Updated: 18/05/14 8:26pm
Almeria secured their status in the Primera Division for another season after holding Athletic Bilbao to a goalless draw at home.
There may have been no goals at the Juegos Mediterraneos stadium but there was no shortage of drama.
The hosts squandered a series of clear goalscoring chances and survived some heart-stopping moments at the other end, but got the point they needed to guarantee survival, prompting a pitch invasion when the final whistle was blown.
Francisco Javier Rodriguez's side struggled at the start of their first season back in the top flight for four years and needed 11 league games to record their first win of the season.
Their struggle would continue until the end of the season but last week's win at Granada ensured their destiny was in their own hands on the final day. All they needed to do was avoid defeat.
Athletic, who had nothing to play for after finishing fourth and qualifying for the Champions League, made the stronger start to the game, with midfielder Mikel Rico going close to breaking the deadlock with a low shot from outside the area.
The home fans appealed for a penalty after half an hour when Oscar Diaz went down in the area and then survived an almighty scare at the end of the first half, Aymeric Laporte sliding in to meet a corner but steering the ball just wide.
Almeria improved after the break and could have taken the lead through Diaz, who narrowly failed to connect with a cross at the far post, and Aleix Vidal, who saw a shot saved by Athletic's stand-in goalkeeper Iago Herrerin.
The hosts created a flurry of chances in the final 10 minutes. First Angel Trujillo headed wide of the near post from a corner, then Rodri's shot was saved by Herrerin. The Barcelona B loanee then squandered a glorious chance, shooting wide of the near post with just Herrerin to beat. He almost paid for the miss.
Guillermo Fernandez was put clean through against Almeria's Esteban, but the veteran goalkeeper, playing his final game for the club before joining former side Real Oviedo in the summer, won the duel.
His team ended the game with a draw but won the most important battle: survival.