Bilbao bid farewell
Athletic Bilbao waved goodbye to their San Mames home with a 1-0 loss to Levante.
Last Updated: 26/05/13 11:13pm
Athletic Bilbao waved goodbye to their 100-year old San Mames home in a most disappointing fashion, as Iker Muniain was sent off in a stoppage-time defeat to Levante.
Juanlu volleyed in the only goal of the game from six yards out to claim victory for his side, who moved up to 11th in the Primera Division table, while Athletic slipped down to 13th and saw their faint hopes of claiming a Europa League spot vanish.
Athletic were the better team on the night but did not take their chances, while Levante caused problems with the few shots they did take and hit the frame of the goal twice.
Pedro Rios came close to breaking the deadlock early in the first half, firing a powerful shot from the edge of the area towards goal, but Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz managed to tip it onto the bar just moments after Andoni Iraola had blasted over at the other end.
Oscar De Marcos troubled Levante stopper Keylor Navas with a powerful effort from range but the goalkeeper managed to hold onto the ball at the second time of asking, while Aritz Aduriz came closest to scoring when he shot just wide of the near post after being released by Ander Herrera.
Pape Diop hit the post just after the restart with a cross-cum-shot, while Muniain shot straight at Navas shortly afterwards.
It was to be the Navarran forward's last shot at the old stadium, as he was sent off just a minute later for kicking Levante full-back Hector Rodas off the ball.
Despite being a man down, Athletic still went looking for the winner, and Mikel San Jose, Ander Iturraspe and Ibai Gomez all came close to getting it.
In the end, however, it was the veteran Juanlu who scored the final goal in the historic building, arriving in the six-yard box to volley home a cross from Valdo in added time.
From next season Athletic will play their football at San Mames Barria - adjacent to their treasured former ground.