FC Barcelona continues to make the championship race in Spain extremely exciting. Against Athletic Bilbao, Barça finally achieved a not undeserved 1-0 working victory in a tight match.
Bilbao travelled to Camp Nou with a series of four matches without defeat to FC Barcelona – and once again proved to be a tough nut to crack. The Basques stood compactly on defence, moved well and prevented Barça’s exceptional offensive from unfolding.
The Catalans lacked ideas, liveliness and the element of surprise. Also, the pace of the hosts was too static. All in all, this meant that Athletic didn’t have much trouble keeping up.
Bilbao played well and even had the better chances in half one. But because Williams missed the goal after a counterattack (13.) and Yeray after a corner (21.), the first half ended without goals.
After the change of sides, the picture was initially the same: Barça striving but mostly harmless, Bilbao disciplined and uncompromising. Barcelona coach Quique Setien responded, bringing first Riqui Puig for the weak Arthur (56) and a little later Rakitic and Ansu Fati, who came for Busquets and the equally unobtrusive Griezmann (65).
As the game progressed, Athletic had hardly managed to provide any relief. The game had become one-sided – and in the 71st minute, the spell finally broke: Messi passed the ball to Rakitic with his right knee, who scored his first goal of the season with a dry shot into the long corner.
The Blue Grana was relieved but failed to score again, which meant that the Catalans had to tremble a little until the end before the close victory was secured.
On Saturday, FC Barcelona will play against the current number 16 Celta Vigo, but without Sergio Busquets, because of a yellow card suspension.
Our prognosis is that Barça will win the match 3:0. What do you think? Get into the action and make your prediction!