Williams brothers lead Bilbao into 3rd place in Spain

BILBAO, Spain (AP) Brothers Nico and Inaki Williams assisted one another for goals in Athletic Bilbao's 4-0 home win over Almeria that pulled the Basque Country side level with Barcelona in the Spanish league on Friday.

Nico, who impressed with his international debut for Spain last week, crossed the ball for older brother Inaki to put Bilbao ahead in the 11th minute with a header.

After Oihan Sancet made it 2-0, it was Inaki's turn to set up his younger brother in the 62nd.

Nico exchanged two quick passes with Inaki inside Almeria's area before he fended off defender Rodrigo Ely and poked the ball between the legs of goalkeeper Fernando Martinez.

It was a third goal in as many rounds for the 20-year-old winger, who may be heading to the World Cup after he set up the winner for Spain to edge Portugal 1-0 on Tuesday and clinch a spot in the Nations League final four.

Inaki also debuted for Ghana, another World Cup team, last week after he changed allegiance from Spain.

"We are enjoying some incredible weeks in our family, we are very happy," Inaki said. "The team has taken a step forward this season."

Mikel Vesga added a fourth goal from the penalty spot with six to play after he was fouled by Arnau Puigmal.

Bilbao has excelled since Ernesto Valverde returned to start his third stint as its coach.

A third straight win left Bilbao and Barcelona two points behind league leader Real Madrid before both powerhouses play matches this weekend. Barcelona visits Mallorca on Saturday, while Madrid hosts Osasuna on Sunday.

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Updated September 30, 2022