LaLiga Report: Athletic Bilbao v FC Barcelona 10 February 2019

LaLiga Report: Athletic Bilbao v FC Barcelona 10 February 2019

LaLiga Report: Athletic Bilbao v FC Barcelona 10 February 2019

De Marcos received a second yellow card in injury-time for a handball but there was no time for Barce to feel the benefit.

The Spanish champions were held to a 0-0 draw by 10-man Athletic Bilbao on Sunday.

In all likelihood, he stayed on because his team needed him but Messi was not at his best and neither were Barcelona, who would even have lost had it not been for Marc Andre ter Stegen's stunning late save to deny Inaki Williams.

Barca top the standings with 51 points after 23 games, six ahead of a resurgent Real Madrid.

"He saved us", coach Ernesto Valverde said.

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And this was their worst loss in any competition since 1991 after failing to recover from Sterling's fourth-minute opener. We're watching a really weak football team here". "People don't understand how hard the first year can be".

"We come out of this week just like the last, we are still top, and if my calculations are not wrong, we'll be top next week", he told a news conference.

"It's a long season and we'll wait until the end to make a judgement".

On Barça's struggles at Athletic, Rakitic said it was normal because games at San Mames are always "hard-fought".

Bilbao had the better of the early stages as Yuri Berchiche flashed just wide after a poor pass from Vidal while Markel Susaeta's drive forced the leaping Ter Stegen into an acrobatic save.

He then stood form to keep out an overhead kick from Raul Garcia and was alert in the second half, instinctively throwing an arm into the air to pat away a close range shot from Williams and later stretching to catch a shot from the forward.

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These matches are all on the weekends, but at the same time Barcelona will be competing in cup competitions as they have a Champions League trip to Lyon the Tuesday before they play Sevilla and the second leg of their Copa del Rey Clasico the Wednesday before the league rematch between the two historic foes.

He came closest to scoring for the visitors, sending a loose ball on to the top of the crossbar after Bilbao keeper Iago Herrerin fumbled on the edge of the area.

"We were first last week and we are still first, and if my maths is right, we will be again next week", Valverde said.

Muniain followed Mikel San Jose off the Bilbao bench just past the hour, before Barcelona made their first adjustment of the match, Carles Alena taking the place of Vidal in the middle of the park.

"We have to ask for the ball more".

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