Result: Barcelona 2-0 Athletic Bilbao

Lionel Messi
© PA Photos
Barcelona move to within six points of Real Madrid in La Liga after a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Barcelona have moved to within six points of Real Madrid in La Liga with a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao on Saturday.

Barcelona might have taken the lead after just five minutes when Cristian Tello found Gerard Pique in the box, but he fired wide.

Thiago thought he had opened the scoring after eight minutes after fine work from Lionel Messi, but it was ruled offside.

Both sides pressed the ball in the opening stages, with Bilbao making four changes to the side that faced Schalke in the Europa League on Thursday.

Messi so nearly found the corner with a free kick after 24 minutes, before Jon Aurtenetxe cleared a Pique header off the line moments later.

Andres Iniesta was next to come close for the home side moments before the 30-minute mark, but Bilbao goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz pushed the ball wide.

Barcelona continued to attack in the latter stages of the opening period, and they found the opener five minutes before the break when Iniesta collected a Messi pass before firing home.

Bilbao entered the second period with a better purpose, but it was Barcelona who continued to look the more dangerous and Tello brought a fine save out of Iraizoz after 55 minutes.

Barcelona moved 2-0 ahead just before the hour mark when Messi converted from the spot after Tello had been felled by Javi Martinez in the area.

Chances were few and far between in the latter stages, as the home side closed out the comfortable win.

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Tables
TeamPGDPTS
1Atletico Madrid345285
2Barcelona346681
3Real Madrid336279
4Athletic Bilbao342262
5Sevilla341859
6Real Sociedad34754
7Villarreal341252
8Valencia34045
9Espanyol34-641
10Malaga34-641
11Levante34-1141
12Celta Vigo34-1140
13Rayo Vallecano34-2940
14Granada34-2037
15Elche34-1935
16Osasuna34-2535
17Real Valladolid33-1832
18Getafe34-2232
19Almeria34-3230
20Real Betis34-4022