(Reuters) – Athletic Bilbao won their first La Liga match since their opener in August when an added-time penalty from veteran striker Aritz Aduriz secured a 1-0 win over Girona for newly-installed manager Gaizka Garitano on Monday.
Bilbao’s former goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz had an inspired night for the visitors and it looked like the struggling Basque outfit, who parted company with coach Eduardo Berrizo last week, would go a 14th league game without a victory.
However there was late drama when Bilbao substitute Iker Muniain was felled in the box and VAR confirmed it was a penalty. Aduriz, 37, kept his cool to score with a Panenka-style chip down the middle to send San Mames stadium into raptures.
It was the perfect start for Garitano, who has been promoted from managing the club’s ‘B’ team, with Bilbao still in the final relegation place but now on 14 points from 15 games and only below Villarreal on their head-to-head record.
They are the only team besides Real Madrid and Barcelona never to be relegated from Spain’s top flight.
(Reporting by Joseph Cassinelli in Madrid; editing by Ken Ferris)