Barcelona stay top after Bilbao victory

Messi Barcelona

Barcelona maintained their advantage at the top of the La Liga standings although they were made to work, when they beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0 at the San Mames Barria on Saturday with Lionel Messi and Paulinho getting the winning goals.

Athletic Bilbao 0 Barcelona 2

  • Aduriz misses good chance for home side
  • Messi hits post but scores first
  • Garcia’s header strikes the post
  • Paulinho gets late second

Match summary

Both sides had their chances in the opening half with Messi and Aduriz going close in the opening exchanges. Yet, Barca took the lead through their Argentina superstar.

After further misses for the visitors, Garcia hit the bar in the second half and it would prove costly as Paulinho sealed the points in injury time.

Match report

Barcelona started strongly and went close in the sixth minute when Lionel Messi fired in a strike from 25 yards which Kepa gathered.

Barca were controlling possession although Bilbao had a great chance to hit the front in the 19th minute, as Aritz Aduriz broke through on goal with Marc-Andre ter Stegen to beat, though the goalkeeper made a solid save to deny him.

Two minutes later the visitors would rue a missed chance as Luis Suarez combined well with Messi, though the Argentina superstar hit the post after rounding Kepa in goal. A lucky escape for the Lions.

Yet, in the 36th minute he found the first goal after a bursting run down the left by Jordi Alaba, saw the Spain international’s cross find La Pulga Atomica – who finished with precision.

Just before the break, Paulinho nearly made it 2-0 when after more brilliant skill from Messi, he was played in on goal but hit the post.

After the interval, the home side nearly drew level when Inigo Cordoba’s corner found Raul García, who saw his header hit the bar with ter Stegen floundering.

It was a tight second half of few chances though Benat Etxebarria’s superb cross from the left found Aduriz, who beat Samuel Umtiti to the ball, though Barca’s keeper made a superb stop down low at his near post in the 85th minute.

Nonetheless, Blaugrana made the game safe in stoppage time as Paulinho had a tap-in from close range after Messi sent Suarez through, and the Uruguay striker’s shot fell into the path of the Brazilian from Kepa’s save.