Good evening! Thank you very much for joining Sports Mole
for today's La Liga opener between Athletic Bilbao
and Barcelona at the San Mames! The visitors will be hoping that Antoine Griezmann
can enjoy a positive start to life at the Catalan club, while the hosts will be looking to stave off a difficult opening challenge and set themselves on the way to beating last season's eighth-place finish. Kickoff is just five minutes away, so let's waste no time in having a look at the team news...
ATHLETIC BILBAO STARTING XI:
Simon; Capa, Yeray, Nunez, Berchiche; Lopez, Garcia; De Marcos, Raul Garcia, Muniain; Williams.
Subs: I. Herrerin, Beñat, Larrazabal, Aduriz, Balenziaga, Vivian, O. Sancet.
BARCELONA STARTING XI:
Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Alena, Roberto, De Jong; Dembele, Suarez, Griezmann.
Subs: Pena, Firpo, Umtiti, Perez, Rakitic, Rafinha, Busquets.
KICKOFF: And we're off! Athletic Bilbao get us underway in this La Liga opener.
Both teams are looking to settle into the game early and are showing their comfort on the ball.
Athletic Bilbao looking to send an early warning to Barcelona by keeping hold of the ball. Inaki Williams has just show some lovely footwork to keep the ball in a tight area.
Inaki Williams shows some great attacking play to win his side a corner, which Barcelona clear. Williams has demonstrated his talent well so far.
SAVE! It's that man again. Williams tests Ter Stegen from range and forces a fine stop from the goalkeeper.
Barcelona have a spell of possession but the home side are looking to win the ball back at great pace. Impressive start from Athletic Bilbao, from a tactical standpoint.
Shaping up to be an interesting encounter, this one. Not too much action in front of goal so far but both sides are not backwards in coming forwards.
Both fixtures between the two sides finished in draws last season. Not surprising based on the opening 12 minutes here as the sides are evenly poised.
SAVE! Williams breaks into the box and fires a shot at goal, forcing another save from Ter Stegen. The Barcelona defence are struggling to handle Williams so far this evening.
Barcelona are breaking into the final third without threatening the Bilbao goal. They're missing the flair of one Lionel Messi, who is missing tonight with a calf injury.
Barcelona have won four of their last five trips to the San Mames. They'll need to up their tempo to continue that record. Griezmann has started in a wide position, which is something Ernesto Valverde may need to look at sooner rather than later.
A masterclass in defending as a unit from the hosts here this evening. Allowing the central Barcelona players very little time on the ball. The visitors cannot get comfortable.
The new rule about goal kicks causing some confusion here as Athletic Bilbao players infiltrate the visitors' box a little too early. They're not used to having defenders stood inside the box. Certainly one to get used to!
Tale of the half: Athletic Bilbao looking to dominate the ball in the middle of the park. They loft a deep free kick into the box, but Barcelona clear.
De Marcos plays a lofted ball across the Barcelona box, but he's flagged for offside.
Semedo, Dembele and Alena looking to play some neat triangles down the right-hand side. They're struggling to unlock Bilbao, who stand firm.
SHOT! Unai Lopez fires one from range as he looks to test Ter Stegen. It's a comfortable save for the German goalkeeper.
OFF THE POST! WOW! Unai Lopez makes a terrible error and gifts the ball to Luis Suarez on the box. On the turn, the Uruguayan fires a shot at goal and it smashes against the post! The biggest chance of the game so far.
Worry for Barcelona here as Luis Suarez goes down injured. He's currently off the pitch and it doesn't look as though he can continue. He's receiving treatment from the physios.
Williams drives into the box, beating Pique for pace, but he misplaces his pass. A new attacking phase begins but Ter Stegen catches a cross under pressure from Raul Garcia.
Capa gets in behind the Barcelona defence and pulls it back for Raul Garcia, who can't generate enough power to steer his shot past Ter Stegen.
BARCELONA SUB: The injured Luis Suarez makes way for Rafinha.
SHOT! Another shot from around 30 yards as Unai Lopez tries his luck for the home side. It whistles past the left-hand post.
A long ball is played downfield by Griezmann finds himself offside. The Frenchman has now moved into a more central position following the withdrawal of Luis Suarez.
Gaizka Garitano will be the happier of the two managers heading into the half time break. Some strong play from his troops here. Ernesto Valderde will have questions to ask of his attack.
SAVE! Substitute Rafinha earns himself a yard of space and fires an absolute rocket at goal! Unai Simon makes a stunning save to tip the ball onto the crossbar.
HALF TIME: ATHLETIC BILBAO 0-0 BARCELONA
Ernesto Valverde will have plenty to say to his Barcelona players at the break. Despite having Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele on the pitch, Barcelona are struggling to create any threat to Bilbao.
Rafinha's stunning shot, which was tipped onto the crossbar by Unai Simon, has been the best effort of the game so far.
Barcelona dominated the ball with 61% of possession in the first half, but they've had little time to get comfortable on the ball with Bilbao pressing intensely. Bilbao have had six shots while restricting their visitors to just two.
Eyes have been on Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong
tonight, but the 22-year-old has been stifled in possession by Bilbao's midfield press. Can he unlock some important attacking play in the second half?
KICKOFF: Barcelona get us back underway in the second half.
BARCELONA SUB: Ivan Rakitic has replaced Carles Alena at the start of the second half.
Valverde has rotated his midfield in a hope to unlock Bilbao. Rakitic is now sitting in a deep role and De Jong has pushed further forward. Sergio Roberto in a slightly more attacking role. Griezmann and Dembele are playing up front together.
CLOSE! Ivan Rakitic heads over from a corner after making a clever run at the near post.
CLOSE! Rafinha gets in behind the Athletic Bilbao defence and pulls a shot just wide at the near post. Unai Simon got a touch to send the ball out for a corner, but it looked to be heading wide anyway.
CHANCE! Griezmann heads wide at the near post from a corner. It doesn't trouble the Bilbao goal.
CHANCE! Unai Lopez loves to have a pop from range, doesn't he? From about 22 yards out, he fires one over Ter Stegen's crossbar.
Some intricate combination play in the box from Barcelona, but they meet a stern defence who hold firm and regain possession. This is better from Barcelona.
CLOSE! Inaki Williams has started the second half how he started the first. He runs in behind Lenglet and fires wide of the near post.
There's an extra bit of tempo to Barcelona's game here, particularly when they look to move the ball forward.
SHOT! Dembele lofts a free kick into the box and the clearance falls to Rafinha. His attempt is an interesting one to say the least. Emile Heskey would have been proud.
SHOT! Berchiche fires a long-range free kick somewhere near the target. Kind of. It's a goal kick.
YELLOW CARD! Rakitic looks to burst away but he's fouled by Nunez on the halfway line. The Bilbao man picks up a booking.
ATHLETIC BILBAO SUB: 18-year-old Oihan Sancet replaces Oscar De Marcos, who was looking tired out there.
Athletic Bilbao's hopes of winning this one are very much alive. What a boost that would be to Zinedine Zidane and his men...
CLOSE! The ball breaks to Rakitic in the box and he fires a powerful effort over the crossbar. Barcelona are beginning to unpick this Bilbao defence, slowly but surely.
Some neat interchange between De Jong and Dembele in the middle of the park, but nothing comes of it. Dembele will be disappointed with his display tonight.
Rakitic trying his best to run things from deep here. He's finding the time and space that De Jong couldn't in the first half. Still plenty of work for both sides to do if they want to get a victory here.
Alba drills a low cross in from the left, but Nunez cuts it out at the near post. Barcelona lacking some cutting edge in the opposition box.
BARCELONA SUB: Carles Perez replaces Sergi Roberto in the Barcelona midfield.
70% possession and over 500 passes for Barcelona in this clash now. It's not how much you have the ball, it's what you do with it. The visitors have been disappointing in that regard.
CLOSE! Rafinha has had the best of the chances in this game so far. He shows some lovely footwork to beat his man on the edge of the box, but his shot is deflected wide for a corner. It comes to nothing.
ATHLETIC BILBAO SUB: Unai Lopez leaves the pitch and is replaced by Benat Etxebarria.
CLOSE! Bilbao sitting back a little more in the second half, but Barcelona are still struggling to break them down. As I type that, Griezmann pulls one wide.
CLOSE! Griezmann goes close again, his header flying over the bar. It was close, but not close enough for the visitors.
Benat floats a free kick into the box, but it doesn't find a red and white shirt.
ATHLETIC BILBAO SUB: Aduriz, at the age of 38, replaces Inaki Williams. The forward was Bilbao's key man in attack this evening.
GOAL! ATHLETIC BILBAO 1-0 BARCELONA (ARITZ ADURIZ)
GOAL! WHAT A HIT! He's been on the pitch no more than thirty seconds, and he launches and AUDACIOUS scissor kick from about 16 yards out. Ter Stegen had absolutely no chance. At the age of 38, the man still has it. You couldn't write this stuff!
SAVE! It's Lenglet with the header, tipped over the bar by Unai Simon. You'll want to catch the highlights of this game for that goal alone. Sublime.
FULL TIME: ATHLETIC BILBAO 1-0 BARCELONA
It's finished at the San Mames Stadium and Athletic Bilbao have picked up all three points right at the death. An absolutely stunning scissor sick from Aduriz in the 89th minute has sealed it. And it was deserved, too. Bilbao were pressing with real intent all night and Barcelona could not find a way to break them down. If that's set the tone for the season then we're in for a treat!
That brings this evening's live commentary to a close. Thank you very much for joining us as Barcelona open their title defence with a 1-0 defeat. I hope you enjoyed that last minute winner as much as we did at Sports Mole Towers. You can check out our report of tonight's action by clicking here
. Good night!