Barcelona 1-0 Athletic Club: Rakitic strikes to put host La Liga top

Catch all the live commentary, stats, goal updates, highlights, analysis and more from the La Liga match between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou.

FC Barcelona

After the goalless draw in Seville and Real Madrid's emphatic victory at Real Sociedad, Barcelona slipped down from the top of the table.   -  AP

Welcome to the highlights of the 2019-20 La Liga match between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou.

 

RESULT: BARCELONA 1-0 ATHLETIC BILBAO


90+5' FULL TIME: The ball crashes against the wall and with that we have the long whistle. Barca posts its 21st win of the season and that puts the side three points ahead of Madrid and top of the table.

90+4' Messi dances around the Athletic defenders and we have a foul right outside the box. We will be witnessing a freekick in the dying moments. Will this be the 700th?

90+1' Rakitic picks up a yellow card after bringing Vesga down.

90' We will have five minutes of added time, ladies and gents!

88' Messi pulls the trigger but misses again. Fati opens up the play for Barcelona, dribbling in from the left and delivers the ball to the Barca mainman.

85' SUBSTITUTION: Martin Braithwaite replaces Luis Suarez.

84' Bilbao almost equalises. Balenziaga sends in a beautiful cross in. ter Stegen misses. Pique misses too. Raul Garcia, however, fails to convert from close quarters.

80' CHAAAANCE! One could almost hear thousands of Culers gasping right there. Messi almost had his 700th. He dashes in from the right flanks and shoots just wide of the far post.

79' Athletic switch. Raul Garcia replaces Oihan Sancet.

71' GOOAAALLLLL! Ivan Rakitic slots it home. Messi wins the ball, shifts gears to avoid two defenders before laying the ball in the path of Rakitic. The Croatian, only six minutes into the pitch, makes no mistake, whatsoever. This is Rakitic's first La Liga goal of the season. His last came in El Clasico on March 2, 2019. This was Messi's 250th assist for Barcelona.

70' SUBSTITUTIONS: Double Athletic changes. Asier Villalibre replaces Inaki Williams Ander Capa is on for Inigo Lekue.

65' And the Barcelona wonderkid almost living up to his name here. A cross sails in from the left and Fati heads it just off target.

64' SUBSTITUTIONS: Twin changes for Barcelona as Antoine Griezmann and Sergio Busquets make way for Ansu Fati and Ivan Rakitic.

63' Messi crosses it this time to the farther post. Vidal is a little late onto the ball and no damage has been done.

62' Yellow Card! Suarez has been brought down. Unai Nunez picks up a booking.

56' SUBSTITUTIONS: Iker Muniain and Dani Garcia replace Unai Lopez and Inigo Cordoba.

56' SUBSTITUTION: Barca's first change. Riqui Puig to replace Arthur.

54' Griezmann to break the jinx?! "Nope, not today," says Simon as he wards off the Frenchman's effort off a Messi pass.

48' Griezmann tries to find Suarez with a through ball but Athletic successfully intercepts. Saying that, it is quite evident Barcelona has upped its pace quite some notches since the start of this half.

Second Half

45+2' HALF-TIME: The first half ends with Yerya's defensive header crashing on the roof of the net. Barcelona 0-0 Athletic Club

45' There will be two additional minutes of play before half-time at Camp Nou.

44' Shot! Messi's effort sails well wide. It looks improbable that we will have a goal before half-time especially with the impressive defensive show that Athletic Bilbao has put up.

41' Messi lays one off to Semedo who successfully threads the ball to Suarez through the resolute Athletic wall. The Uruguayan, however, has been called offside.

34' Barcelona wins a corner but Inaki, at the near post, ensures there is no damage. The host half-heartedly appeals for a penalty after Lenglet and De Marcos get in a tangle but the referee doesn't seem interested.

32' Busquets picks up a yellow card for a high boot on Inaki. This being his fifth booking of the season, the Spaniard will miss the game against Celta Vigo on Saturday.

29' Semedo wins the ball at the edge of the box but swings it wide.

24' Suarez miraculously cuts it back just before the ball was about to roll out of play but fails to find Vidal.

23' Inaki has looked very sharp on the pitch tonight. Gets involved in some wonderful playmaking with Lekue but Pique ensures the scoreline stays 0-0.

22' Another corner for Athletic: The side plays it short and it is Lopez again who sends in a peach of a cross. Yeray, at the back post, heads it over the woodwork.

20' Chance for Barcelona! A one-two between Suarez and Messi is intercepted by shot-stopper Simon.

15' Two successive opportunities. After Simon stops a regulation shot from Suarez, Messi plays one to the Uruguayan on the right. The latter, though, fires wide of target.

14' Inaki fires one into the side-netting. ter Stegen was well out at the near post but the shot didn't worry the Blaugrana stopper.

10' Messi attempts to chip it home but Bilbao's Simon makes it back in time to gather the ball with ease.

9' Messi has already breached his way into the final third twice now. It, for sure, has been Athletic Bilbao's defence vs Messi's agility, thus far.

5' And Barca now! Messi fights his way into the box before passing the ball to Arthur, who is set to make a move to Serie A giant Juventus. The Brazilian takes a shot but Yeray heads it away to safety.

3' Balenziaga takes a throw-in and wins a corner off Pique.

And CHANCE! Oh so close and so early into the game! Thought Bilbao had it for a moment there. Unai Lopez sends a curler into the box but ter Stegen's great presence of mind averts the danger as the German swats the ball away.

1' Luis Suarez tries to latch onto a ball from Jordi Alba running in from the left flank but loses control. Will Barca break the Athletic curse tonight?

Kick-off! The referee blows the whistle and Bilbao gets the ball rolling.

The teams are making their way out onto the pitch.

With two minutes to go, what are your predictions? Will Barcelona put the pressure right back on Real Madrid or is it going to be Athletic Club, which will secure its third victory over Barca?

First Half

LIVE COMMENTARY
 

Starting XI

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Lenglet, Pique, Alba, Busquets, Arthur, Vidal, Griezmann, Suarez, Messi.

Athletic Bilbao: Unai Simon, De Marcos, Nunez, Yeray, Balenziaga, Unai Lopez, Vesga, Lekue, Sancet, Cordoba, Williams.

 

What is the lifespan of a G.O.A.T? We hope it is infinity.

Happy Birthday, Lionel Messi! The star striker is just one goal away from 700 career goals ahead of Wednesday night's game.

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MATCH PREVIEW

Barcelona returns to Camp Nou to face Athletic Club in a crucial La Liga fixture today.

The host

After the goalless draw in Seville and Real Madrid's emphatic victory at Real Sociedad, Barca slipped from the top of the table. The two frontrunners in the title chase are now locked on 65 points each, but in the case of a tie, Madrid will come out better due to its better head-to-head record.

A soleus injury will see Frenkie de Jong join Ousmane Dembele and Sergi Roberto in the treatment room. Although there is plenty of cover for the Dutchman in midfield, his absence will still be felt. Samuel Umtiti, however, is back from suspension.

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FC Barcelona


 

Barcelona Probable Lineup (4-3-3)

ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Griezmann, Fati

Bilbao Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1)

Simon; Capa, Nunez, Martinez, Balenziaga; Dani Garcia, Vesga; Williams, Muniain, Cordoba; Raul Garcia


The opposition

Now in its second season under Gaizka Garitano, Athletic Club is the team that knocked Barcelona out of the Copa del Rey in February. It had gone on to reach the final, which for the first time is a Basque derby against Real Sociedad. However, because of COVID-19 it is not known how and when that game is going to be played.

Athletic lost all four of its league games in February, but is unbeaten in the five games played since then. That leaves it ninth on the table and still in contention for a Europa League berth next season.

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Athletic Club

 

Source: FC Barcelona

24-MAN SQUADS

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, N. Semedo, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Arthur, Suárez, Messi, Neto, Lenglet, Griezmann, Jordi Alba, Braithwaite, Vidal, Umtiti, Junior, Iñaki Peña, Riqui Puig, Collado, Ansu Fati, R. Araujo, Morer, Monchu and Cuenca.

Athletic Club: Simón, Herrerín, Ezkieta, Núñez, Iñigo Martínez, Yeray, San José, Unai López, Williams, Muniain, Córdoba, Larrazabal, Dani García, Lekue, Vesga, De Marcos, Capa, Raúl García, Kodro, Balenziaga, Villalibre, Vencedor, Vivian and Sancet.

 

 

NUMBER CRUNCHING

- Barcelona is undefeated in its last 27 home matches in La Liga.

- Barcelona is undefeated in its last 22 home matches against Athletic Bilbao in all competitions.

- Barcelona has seen under 2.5 goals in its last six matches against Athletic Bilbao in all competitions.

- Barcelona has kept a clean sheet in its last four matches in La Liga.

- Barcelona has been winning at both half time and full time in five of its last seven home matches in La Liga.

- Athletic Bilbao has kept a clean sheet in its last three matches against Barcelona in all competitions.

- There have been over 2.5 goals scored in Athletic Bilbao's last four away games in La Liga.

- Athletic Bilbao is undefeated in its last five matches in La Liga.


Where can you watch the game live in India?

The La Liga match between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao will not be broadcast live in India on any television (TV) channel. However, you can watch the encounter by streaming it live on Facebook.