Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona - Football Match Report

Annette Crawford
February 11, 2019

LaLiga leaders FC Barcelona moved six points clear of second-place Real Madrid, despite dropping points at Athletic Bilbao on Sunday evening.

Ernesto Valverde started Lionel Messi despite concerns about his match fitness following injury while Sergi Roberto and Arturo Vidal were the other two changes from their last outing against Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey on Wednesday.

Barca shot-stopper Marc Andre Ter Stegen was called upon after 25 minutes to expertly tip a shot from Markel Susaeta over the top.

"He saved us", coach Ernesto Valverde said.

Barca will however face Real Valladolid next weekend before their Champions League round of 16 tie against French League side Lyon the following Tuesday.

Ousmane Dembele made his recovery from an ankle problem as a 75th-minute substitute, taking the place of Coutinho, whose problems in a Barcelona shirt continued.

Williams had a wonderful chance to send Bilbao ahead in the 80th minute when the forward met a free kick from Muniain, but the ball flew just wide of the post, before the in-form Spain global fired straight at Ter Stegen from another Muniain pass moments later.

Barca enjoyed more control in the second half after homegrown midfielder Carles Alena replaced an erratic Arturo Vidal but exhausted as the game progressed. Still, they twice should have scored, with Messi and Suarez both guilty of missing.

Messi came close to breaking the deadlock with a chipped effort that clipped the top of the crossbar after Athletic goalkeeper Iago Herrerin was out of his area following a save to deny Nelson Semedo a clear sight of goal. Youngster Carles Alena made far more of an impact in his cameo, and the Chilean will need to up his game if he is to turn his fortunes around.

Bilbao had a golden chance to take the lead 25 minutes from time when San Jose found space in a unsafe position, but the midfielder's effort just missed the post. Instead, Ter Stegen shot out his right hand, somehow denying the striker from eight yards.

Ter Stegen's reflexes then came to the aid of the visitors to prevent another close-range strike from Williams, before the home side had Oscar de Marcos sent off for picking up a second yellow card late on.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

Discuss This Article