Barcelona got back to winning and kept their unbeaten streak alive in La Liga on Wednesday as the Blaugrana played to a 3-1 win against Club Bilbao in San Mames. Barcelona was coming off a 1-0 win on the road against last-place Huesca, but Barcelona looked more dominant in today’s match despite a shaky start.
It was a promising start for Bilbao as the hosts went up shockingly early, breaking through on goal in the opening minutes. Inaki Williams opened the scoring in the third minute with Raul Garcia finding him on a run into the box. His shot would trickle low past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen for an early lead.
The lead would be short-lived despite the host’s brief attempt to quickly get a second goal. Barcelona did well to recommit to their overall shape and continued to retain possession. The Blaugrana backline defended well and remained involved in the attack with their midfield which paid off shortly after Bilbao’s opener.
Barca answered in the 14th minute as Lionel Messi, Frenkie De Jong and Pedri linked up for Barcelona’s opening goal. Messi manufactured the goal as he spotted out a drifting De Jong into the box, and as the Argentinian lofted the ball, De Jong continued his run, got a touch, and was able to execute a floating back pass into the box where Pedri continued his run for the equalizing header.
The Basque side was forced to make adjustments after the equalizer, subbing out defender Mikel Balenziaga due to injury. With Barcelona’s continued pressure and looks on goal, the Blaugrana eventually stuck on goal once again ahead of halftime, this time with Pedri providing the assist to Messi for the go-ahead goal.
The hosts continued to struggle against Barcelona’s attack in the second half. The Blaugrana’s midfield continued to retain possession and connect with the top line and kept getting solid opportunities in front of the net with their third goal just past the hour mark.
It was top-line special with Dembele getting a strong dribble on the ball and switching to Greizmann, whose low trickling cross into the box would be flicked ahead by Messi on goal, chipping the crossbar, and squeaking into the net for Barca’s third goal in the 62nd minute.
Despite the rather dominant looks on goal and convincing play, Athletic Club stayed active and made things interesting in the 89th minute with a second goal from Iker Muniain to narrow Barcelona’s lead. The late goal wouldn’t spark enough for the hosts, as the Catalonians were able to close out the match, and lock up the three points on Three Kings Day.
Pedri, Barcelona: The midfielder has impressed in his outings for the club as of late, and provided the equalizer and assist on Messi’s g- ahead goal. Rating: 8
Iker Muniain, Athletic Club: The winger was unfortunately tasked with large stretches of defending against Barcelona, but was able to pull his team within one late in the game with a chance for them to make things interesting. Rating: 7
The win means Barcelona has finally broken through into the top four of the La Liga table. They now sit in third place with 31 points. The Catalonians will have a chance to build on their table standing Saturday as they face off against Granada on the road in Los Cármenes.
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