Athletic 0-1 Barça: Recap


Athletic Club v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander
Picture by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Photos

As brutal because it will get, and an enormous win within the title race

Barcelona have restored their nine-point lead on the high of the La Liga desk due to a hard-fought 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Sunday night time at San Mamés. The Blaugrana confronted a brutal problem for almost 100 minutes and wanted assist from VAR twice to return away with all three factors, however they discovered a technique to survive hell and can go into subsequent week’s El Clásico with an opportunity to nearly seal the title.


The opening interval was simply as powerful as predicted, with Athletic urgent excessive and taking part in with numerous depth and physicality, trying to strike fast and use their pace up entrance to create probabilities.

Barça tried to manage midfield and gradual the tempo down however missed straightforward passes within the heart of the park, which made the sport very transition heavy and full of counter-attacking soccer from each side.

The Blaugrana had the 2 greatest early probabilities, with Ferran Torres narrowly lacking a volley and Robert Lewandowski losing a golden one-on-one with the goalkeeper because of a poor contact. Athletic responded with two huge ones of their very own, with Iñaki Williams requiring an amazing reflex save from Marc-André ter Stegen and a Raúl García header towards the crossbar.

The sport was lifeless even between two hard-playing groups and seemed destined for a goalless draw on the half, however one second of magic gave Barça the sting: Sergio Busquets confirmed his wonderful imaginative and prescient and performed an ideal cross into the field to seek out Raphinha on their lonesome and onside, and the Brazilian used his weaker proper foot to fireside dwelling the opener, which was disallowed at first however then confirmed via VAR.

At halftime Barça had the slender lead however the dwelling crew was very a lot within the sport, and the second half promised to be a battle.


Barça are often gradual starters within the second half, however the Blaugrana got here out as the higher aspect within the first 20 minutes of the ultimate interval by doing a a lot better job of controlling play in midfield and avoiding Athletic’s counter-attacks with fewer misplaced passes and higher urgent to get well the ball.

The Catalans additionally had an excellent probability to attain a second when a cross from Alejandro Balde discovered the pinnacle of Lewandowski within the field however the Pole couldn’t hit the goal from quick distance.

Regardless of their good begin Barça couldn’t capitalize and Athletic began to appear to be extra of a menace once more. Álex Berenguer hit the publish, and Iker Muniain was his common dynamic and artistic self off the bench because the guests pushed for an equalizer getting into the ultimate quarter-hour.

And it was Muniain who was liable for Bilbao’s largest probability as he made a one-two with Berenguer and fired a stunning roller that seemed destined for the nook earlier than Ter Stegen made a spectacular save.

The ultimate 10 minutes have been a full-on Bilbao blitz as Athletic despatched all our bodies ahead and examined the Blaugrana backline with loads of crosses and pictures from distance. Barça survived the preliminary stress, however with three minutes to go they couldn’t cease Athletic’s greatest participant: Iñaki Williams obtained a cross excessive, ran previous the whole Barça protection and fired dwelling the equalizer.

After which, VAR dominated in Barça’s favor once more because the video evaluation confirmed a transparent handball by Muniain initially of the transfer, and the referee known as off the aim after trying on the display.

There was nonetheless loads of time remaining because the prolonged aim evaluation led to seven minutes of added time, and Athletic threw warning to the wind searching for the equalizer. They got here extremely shut when Yuri Berchiche discovered himself on their lonesome contained in the field and fired a rocket into the web, however Jules Kounde made an unbelievable goal-line clearance and stored Barça in entrance.

That turned out to be Bilbao’s final probability on the night time, and the ultimate whistle got here to present Barça three gigantic factors earlier than subsequent week’s Clásico. San Mamés was simply as brutal as anticipated, and Barça can rely themselves very fortunate to win this one. What an evening.

Athletic: Agirrezabala; De Marcos (Capa 84’), Vivian, Martínez, Balenziaga (Yuri 70’); García, Vesga (Zarraga 64’); Berenguer (Guruzeta 84’), García (Muniain 64’), Williams; Williams

Objectives: None

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Roberto (Alonso 84’), Kounde, Christensen, Balde; Gavi (Alarcón 90+4’), Busquets, De Jong; Raphinha (Fati 84’), Lewandowski, Ferran (Kessie 68’)

Purpose: Raphinha (45+1’)

Supply –

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