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Time runs out for Garitano at Athletic Bilbao despite winning latest ‘final’ | Sid Lowe

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Gaizka Garitano was dismissed despite victory over Elche, but if the timing was a surprise the board’s decision was not

Pretty much the last thing Gaizka Garitano did as coach of Athletic Club Bilbao was say how happy he was. When the final, final whistle went he embraced assistant Paxti Ferreira, put his arm around Yuri Berchiche and ducked out of the cold and pouring rain and into the tunnel at San Mamés beneath the bust of Pichichi. Iker Muniain’s 25th-minute strike and Óscar de Marcos’s last-minute goal-line clearance had been enough to equal their best winning run – one – defeat Elche, and overcome another ultimatum. Or so they thought. Inside in the dry, the manager was asked how big a relief it was. “Collectively, total,” he replied. “Personally, what I want is for Athletic to win always, whether I’m here or not.”

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Villarreal 2-1 Levante, Real Betis 1-1 Sevilla, Getafe 0-1 Real Valladolid, Real Madrid 2-0 Celta Vigo, Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Elche, Alaves 1-2 Atlético Madrid, Eibar 2-0 Granada, Real Sociedad 1-1 Osasuna, Huesca 0-1 Barcelona

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