LaLiga Report: Athletic Bilbao v FC Barcelona 10 February 2019


Earlier, had reported how Barcelona failed to stretch their lead at the summit of the Spanish League table to eight points after being stalemated by Athletic Bilbao in tough La Liga clash on Sunday night.

Ter Stegen made two brilliant saves - one from Susaeta and another from Inaki Williams - to help Barça leave San Mames wit ha goalless draw.

And Barcelona handler Ernesto Valverde has now provided an answer dismissing the suggestions that Lionel Messi was not fit enough to play on Sunday, February 10.

Real Madrid beat Atletico Madrid in the capital derby on Saturday to move into second spot, just five points behind Barca ahead of kickoff at San Mames.

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

"Well we were first last week, we're first this week and, if I'm not mistaken, we'll be leaders next week as well", he said". Still, they twice should have scored, with Messi and Suarez both guilty of missing.

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With Lionel Messi hampered by a recent thigh problem and influential left back Jordi Alba suspended, Barca were far from their usual best, creating few clear opportunities and ending the game defending deep as Bilbao continued to attack.

Ter Stegen was first called into action by a long-range strike from Susaeta, the German flying towards the top right corner to tip the ball over the bar with his left hand.

Messi clipped a shot onto the top of the crossbar and over after goalkeeper Iago Herrerin had raced from his line to deny Semedo and then forced Herrerin into an inelegant save at his near post, but Raul Garcia saw a shot deflected wide by Sergi Roberto four minutes before the break.

The Argentina worldwide was superb in the encounter against Bilbao, but his failure to score a goal makes many think probably he is not 100 percent fit.

In between, Barca had enjoyed their best spell at the start of the second half but the gaps always seemed to close around the penalty area and they struggled to find a way through.

Ter Stegen's reflexes then came to the aid of the visitors to prevent another close-range strike from Williams, before the home side had Oscar de Marcos sent off for picking up a second yellow card late on.