Athletic Bilbao hold Barcelona

Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona played out a 1-1 draw at San Mames in the second match week of La Liga.

Barcelona moved to the top of the table, but Real Madrid, Sevilla, and Atletico Madrid can topple them today if they win their respective games.

Ronald Koeman went with the same lineup that earned his team a 4-2 win against Real Sociedad.

Neto held on to his spot since Marc-Andre ter Stegen is going through post-op rehabilitation. The German shot-stopper had surgery on his right knee in May to treat his patellar tendon problems.

Brathwaite misses

Barca’s last match hero Martin Braithwaite had a golden opportunity to open the scoring early in the game.

Five minutes after kick-off, the Denmark international found himself in an enticing position inside the Bilbao box, with only Julen Agirrezabala to beat.

But, Braithwaite couldn’t force the young goalkeeper into action as he shot well over the target.

Barcelona were almost made to pay for their wastefulness in front of the opposition box when Oihan Sancet received the ball in a favorable location.

The Barca dugout heaved a sigh of relief at the sight of Sancet’s ferocious strike ricocheting off the crossbar.

Inaki Williams tormented the Barcelona backline throughout the match.

Serginho Dest and Eric Garcia, in particular, would not be looking forward to defending against the lightning-fast Spanish winger anytime soon.

Things got worse for the visitors when Gerard Pique had to limp off the pitch halfway through the first half, so Koeman had to send in Ronald Araujo.

Barcelona players were happy to see the referee whistling for the first time interval as the hosts were building up more and more momentum in their attacks.

Barca, on the other hand, couldn’t register an attempt for the rest half of the half after Agirrezabala stopped Depay’s lower right corner bound shot from going in.

Second half action

However, things didn’t change much after the break. Williams picked up where he left off as Neto secured his on-target attempt in the first minute of the second half.

Bilbao kept on pressing their opponents and they got rewarded for their persistence in the 50th minute.

Iker Munian fired in a delicious cross into the box and Inigo Martinez headed it past Neto into the Barca goal.

Conceding the goal unlocked a sense of urgency in Barcelona’s attacking play.

Frankie de Jong nearly equalized with a nifty chip, but it was Depay who came to Barca’s rescue five minutes later.

Sergi Roberto found Depay roaming around the D-box, and the Dutchman pulled the trigger to register his maiden goal for the Blaugrana.

Before the final whistle, both teams came close to scoring the winner. Depay’s shot narrowly missed the left corner in the 86th minute.

Four minutes later, Nico Williams was denied by Neto.

Barca ended the match with 10-men after Eric Garcia was sent off in injury time for a reckless challenge on Nico Williams.


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