A little more than fifteen minutes outside of the city of Bilbao lies the small village of Zamudio. The local side Sociedad Deportiva Zamudio have been plugging away in the nether reaches of Spanish football since their formation in 1943. A brief flirtation in Segunda B in the mid 1990’s was the zenith of their progress to date. These days they play in the Tercera Division (the fourth tier of Spanish football), a veritable leviathan of a regional competition featuring no less than 18 divisions. Zamudio and today’s visitors compete in Section 4 which covers this area of the Basque region, or Bizkaia in Euskara. Arriving at the Campo Gazituaga for the 4.30pm kick off, I am slightly surprised that the handwritten sign on the entrance table is asking for 13 Euros for entry but the ground looks inviting and the elderly man in charge of admissions, despite not having a word of English, is very welcoming, providing a teamsheet and organising a free pin badge from the bar for his unexpected visitor.
The bar is handsomely equipped and dispensing liberal glasses of red wine amongst other welcome beverages. The stand, which could seat 500 people, is smart and set into what looks like a large traditional Bizkaian house. Its effortless beauty adorned with a large and smartly painted badge prominently positioned at the rear of the stand. On the far side is ample and somewhat unusual wooden terracing. Also in the corner on the far side sits a traditional manual scoreboard.
The scoreboard wasn’t troubled until injury time in the first half, when Luariz, shaven headed centre forward for the visitors, was upended by Santamaria for a penalty. Not for the first time strict referee, Senor Mardones, flourished a yellow card with not inconsiderable zeal. The spot kick was neatly dispatched by Elustondo. The referee had already reduced the visitors to ten men when Aranburu was shown a straight red card, having already been booked, for a rugged challenge on Jaba.
Lagun made the decisive breakthrough seconds into the restart when Luariz was allowed to waltz through the home defence and slot the ball past Galder with some aplomb. Four minutes later the referee reduced the visitors to nine men when an injudicious handball by Ruben resulted in a second yellow card followed by a red for the midfielder. The impressive Luariz was immediately sacrificed so a defender could take the field.
The anticipated siege on the visiting goal really did not happen to the last five minutes of this decent encounter when Zamudio finally upped the tempo and dominated their numerically disadvantaged guests. Bulky centre forward Libano pulled a goal back but any sharing of the spoils would have been harsh on the visitors.
Senor Mardones must still be writing up his reports following his ten yellow cards and two red cards brandished with alarming regularly throughout the game.
SD Zamudio (0) 1 (Libano 89) CD Lagun Onuk (1)2 (Elustondo pen 45,Luariz 46)
1.Galder; 3.Santamaria; 4.Lander; 5.Iglesias; 9.Libano; 10.Jaba; 11.Barrena; 15.Liher; 16.Erlantz(c); 17.Alex; 18.Solaun.
Subs: 2. Ekaitz; 6.Ruben (for 18,46 mins); 7.Borja (for 16,46 mins); 8.Butron (for 4,53 mins); 13.Aiarza.
1.Olaizola; 2.Egana; 3.Tena(c); 4.Benat; 5.Goikoetxea; 6.Aranburu; 7.Elustondo; 8. Palacios; 9.Luariz; 10.Ruben; 11.Santesteban.
Subs: 12.Unai (for 11,74 mins); 13.Otano; 14. Iriando (for 9,50 min); 15.Arregi; 16.Ortega (f0r 8,82 mins).
Yellow cards: Santamaria, Libano, Jaba, Barrena and Alex (Zamudio); Olaizola, Aranburu, Palacios, Luariz and Ruben (Lagun Onuk)
Red Cards: Aranburu and Ruben (Lagun Onak)