MX23RW : Thursday, January 17 03:36:09
Sep 29, 2018 at 3.15pm UK at ​Camp Nou
Attendance: 78,015
Barcelona
1-1
Athletic Bilbao
FT(HT: 0-1)
de Marcos (41')

Result: Barca leave it late to stave off second straight loss

Substitute Munir salvaged a point after Athletic Bilbao opened the scoring through De Marcos.

Substitute Munir El Haddadi saved Barcelona’s blushes with a late equaliser against Athletic Bilbao as the reigning champions narrowly avoided suffering a second successive LaLiga defeat.

Oscar De Marcos’ 41st-minute effort at the Nou Camp looked set to consign the Catalan giants  – who suffered a shock 2-1 loss to Leganes in midweek – to back-to-back league defeats for the first time in over two years.

However, Barca, after hitting the woodwork through Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi, salvaged a 1-1 draw thanks to Munir’s leveller seven minutes from time.

Despite the late leveller, the result caps a disappointing week for the early-season pace-setters, who were also held at home by Girona last weekend before their Leganes upset.

Barca coach Ernesto Valverde opted to start with star man Messi on the bench ahead of a daunting run of fixtures that sees them face Tottenham, Valencia, Sevilla, Inter Milan and Real Madrid in succession.

But Athletic are no pushovers either and without their Argentinian talisman, Barca found themselves trailing at the break.

The visitors twice went close through Inaki Williams before Luis Suarez spurned a great chance for Barca in the 25th minute, the Uruguayan failing to beat Unai Simon with only the Athletic goalkeeper to beat.

To add to Suarez’s frustration, the Basque side made the most of that escape by taking the lead through De Marcos just before the break.

Athletic won possession deep in Barca territory and Markel Susaeta floated a cross to the far post which the airborne De Marcos volleyed past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Valverde threw on experienced duo Messi and Sergio Busquets at the start of the second half and was almost rewarded with an equaliser in the 62nd minute, although it was Coutinho and not the new arrivals who sent an effort against the bar.

Messi also struck the frame of the goal as Barca turned up the heat, the Argentinian firing against the post in the 76th minute after linking up with Jordi Alba.

But with time running out, it was beginning to look as though Athletic would be the first visiting team to win a league game at the Nou Camp since Alaves in September 2016.

It would also have been Athletic’s first LaLiga victory at this ground since 2001. But there was to be a late twist.

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi climbed off the bench to help Barcelona salvage a draw against Athletic Bilbao (Owen Humphreys/PA)

Munir had only been on the pitch four minutes since replacing Ousmane Dembele but he did what fellow replacement Messi was unable to by drawing Barca level.

Simon could only parry Messi’s shot and when the Argentina star pounced on the rebound before drilling the ball back into the six-yard box, Munir was in the right place to stick out a foot to divert it home.

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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona19134253203343
2Atletico MadridAtletico19108127131438
3Sevilla1996431201133
4Real Madrid1910362824433
5AlavesAlaves199552219332
6Getafe197752116528
7Real Betis197572223-126
8Real Sociedad197482322125
9GironaGirona195952123-224
10Espanyol197392127-624
11Valencia1941141717023
12Levante196583035-523
13Athletic Bilbao1941052025-522
14EibarEibar195772128-722
15Leganes195771721-422
16Real Valladolid195771721-422
17Celta Vigo195683132-121
18Rayo Vallecano1954102234-1219
19Villarreal193882025-517
20Huesca1925121736-1911

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