MADRID (AP) — Athletic Bilbao remained in the relegation zone of the Spanish league after being held at Alaves to 0-0 on Monday.
Bilbao is in 18th place of the 20-team league and level on points with Villarreal, which is the last team in safety.
Bilbao generated the few scoring chances of the regional Basque Country derby, but goalkeeper Fernando Pacheco saved shots by Raul Garcia and Inigo Cordoba in each half.
“We wanted to win, of course, but these types of physical, hard-fought matches are good to boost the team’s morale,” Bilbao defender Inigo Martinez said. “We have to keep our heads up.”
Bilbao won its previous two matches under new coach Gaizka Garitano, who replaced the fired Eduardo Berizzo two weeks ago.
Bilbao, which only has players from the northern Basque Country or neighboring areas, has never been relegated to the second division.
Alaves stayed in sixth place and unbeaten through all eight home matches in the league.