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.

Nou Camp
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Real Madrid15114040142637
2Barcelona1594237152231
3Sevilla148332520527
4Real Sociedad158252621526
5Atletico MadridAtletico1474328111725
6Villarreal146531910923
7Athletic Bilbao147252017323
8Las PalmasLas Palmas155642623321
9Malaga155642422221
10EibarEibar146352119221
11Celta Vigo146352426-221
12Espanyol144731717019
13AlavesAlaves144551417-317
14Real Betis144371728-1115
15Leganes154381226-1415
16Deportivo La CorunaDeportivo153482027-713
17Valencia153392129-812
18Sporting GijonSporting Gijon143381528-1312
19Granada151681431-179
20Osasuna1514101332-197