Sunday April 1, 2012 Day 31 Camp Nou

FC Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao

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Countdown: -1282 Days

  1. Matchpack: Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao

    Matchpack: Barcelona v Athletic Bilbao

    Team news, manager quotes, facts and figures ahead of the Liga clash between Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao at the Nou Camp. More

  • Live Commentary

    • 90+2' FULL TIME. Goals from Iniesta and Messi ensure Barcelona are still six points behind Madrid with eight games remaining of the season.
    • 90+1' We will have two minutes of added time.
    • 90+1' Iraizoz makes another save to deny Pedro after he unleashes from the edge of the box.
    • 90' Messi does superbly well to hold onto the ball under attack in the box and shifts it to Keita, who rattles the bar with a thumping effort.
    • 88' Barcelona have only had 54 per cent possession. That isn't all that much for them which tells you Bilbao have played well, even if they haven't had the chances to show for it.
    • 87' Thiago with an outrageous, Ronaldinho-esque piece of control as he kills the ball dead after it drops out of the air. Sensational.
    • 85' Thiago looks frustrated as a pass rolls out play. You don't often see that at Barcelona.
    • 83' A change for Barca as Seydou Keita replaces Sanchez.
    • 82' Lovely from Muniain. He nutmegs Busquets and then chips a ball out to Susaeta, who has an effort blocked by Pique.
    • 81' Off the line! Barca haven't had to do too much defending but after Muniain gets in behind the Barca defence and rolls the ball past Valdes, Pique stretches out a leg to prevent it going in.
    • 79' Messi tries to thread a pass through to Dani Alves but the ball is deflected behind for a corner to Barca. Nothing comes of it though.
    • 77' Goalscorer Iniesta makes way and is replaced by a certain Xavi. Only the greatest midfielder in the history of Spanish football.
    • 75' A classic run from Messi as he drifts across the face of the goal but his low effort back across Iraizoz doesn't have enough on it to beat the keeper.
    • 73' Muniain loses possession in the final third and Barcelona start passing in triangles again.
    • 71' Barca look very comfortable now. Bilbao's changes have failed to have any appreciable impact on the match.
    • 69' Messi takes the corner and finds Pique in acres of space, but he executes his header badly as the ball reaches Iraizoz after bouncing meekly into the turf.
    • 68' A shot from Busquets takes a big deflection but Iraizoz corrects his movement and can tip the ball over the bar.
    • 67' Busquets booked for handball.
    • 66' Sexy football from Barca. Messi is first denied by a fine challenge from Ekiza before Thiago and Iniesta combine, only for the former to fail to get a clean shot away.
    • 65' Pedro with a sumptuous flick to find Iniesta but the backheel from his team-mate is poor.
    • 64' As things stand, Barcelona will be moving to within six points of Real Madrid, who earlier won 5-1 at Osasuna. There are only eight games remaining after tonight.
    • 63' Barcelona bring on Pedro for Tello. It's a like for like replacement.
    • 61' Stat from Opta: "Messi has scored in seven consecutive league games, beating his previous record by two games."
    • 59' Bielsa responds by bringing on Llorente for Toquero.
    • 58' GOAL! Barcelona 2-0 Athletic Bilbao! Messi tucks the ball to the left of Iraizoz, who guesses the right way but can't keep his effort out.
    • 58' Martinez is booked for the foul and Messi will take the spot kick of course.
    • 57' Penalty to Barca as Tello goes down under a clumsy challenge from Martinez.
    • 56' Iturraspe goes into the book.
    • 55' Tello forces Iraizoz into another excellent save as he opens up his body and curls a shot towards the far post. Lovely stuff all round.
    • 54' Alves sets Sanchez free with a fine pass into the right channel but the forward delays his shot and is forced wide of the goal as the chance passes.
    • 53' Messi runs on autopilot as he pulls down the ball and lobs Iraizoz to see his shot loop into the net, but he is rightly adjudged to be offside.
    • 52' Toquero is booked for a bit of a wild challenge on Sergio Busquets, even if there wasn't much contact.
    • 51' So unlucky! Pique spots Thiago loitering on the edge of the box and plays a pass into his feet. Thiago produces a delightful touch to roll a return pass into the path of the defender, but it is intercepted.
    • 50' Wonderful from Alves as he charges through the centre of the pitch and then wins the ball on the edge of the box before squaring for Messi, who sees his firm low effort blocked.
    • 49' Stat from Opta: "Only Borja Valero (77) has won more fouls than Muniain in the league this season (74)."
    • 47' A Susaeta cross causes all kinds of problems in the Barca box but Toquero can't convert and the home side then manage to scramble the ball away somehow.
    • 46' Bilbao make two changes at the break with Iker Muniain and Ander Herrera on for Gomez and Perez.
    • 46' KICK OFF!
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    • 45' HALF TIME. No added time as we go into the break with Barca leading 1-0 thanks to a great goal from Iniesta.
    • 44' Adriano exploits a poor clearance from Martinez when firing in a low effort that Iraizoz repels. The Bilbao keeper has had a very busy half.
    • 42' Stat from Opta: "Barcelona have kept the most clean sheets in the league this season (15)."
    • 41' Now Messi wants to get in on the act and forces Iraizoz into a smart save low to his left.
    • 40' GOAL! Barcelona 1-0 Athletic Bilbao! Iniesta puts Barca in front with a thunderous finish. Sanchez robs Bilbao of possession high up the pitch and the ball comes from Messi to Iniesta, who delays his shot before lashing a fearsome drive past Iraizoz and into the roof of the net.
    • 39' Toquero attempts to race onto a ball over the top but Valdes collects. A rare glimmer of an opening for Bilbao, who are being dominated comprehensively at the moment.
    • 37' Pique pulls the ball down in the box but is penalised for a push on Andoni Iraola. It's the right decision.
    • 36' Barca are swarming all over Bilbao now. Messi darts into the box and wins a corner as the pressure increases.
    • 34' Stat from Opta: "Athletic have dropped the most points in the last five minutes of league games this season (11)."
    • 32' Oh what a tackle that is. Ekiza robs the ball from Messi in the box with a brilliant sliding challenge. Defending at its best.
    • 31' Iniesta receives the ball from Messi, delays and then picks out Alves who turns a weak volley at goal. No problem for Iraizoz.
    • 30' Stat from Opta: "Messi has averaged two goals per game at home in the league this season, Malaga and Real Madrid are the only two teams who have averaged more."
    • 28' Iniesta thunders a shot at goal but is denied by Iraizoz as the keeper tips his effort over the bar. Good goalkeeping. Barca fail to carve out a decent chance from the corner.
    • 27' Sanchez pulls out the old Ronaldinho flip-flap trick - which predictably goes down well with the Camp Nou regulars - but then fouls up the pass.
    • 26' Messi pings in a cross from the right and Pique turns the ball at goal from the back post, only to see Jon Aurtenetxe head off the line!
    • 25' Messi wins a free kick from Borja Ekiza and then catches Bilbao out when taking it quickly. However, Iraizoz produces a fantastic save to claw the ball around the post.
    • 24' Adriano cuts inside from the left and bends his shot well off target. A poor attempt from the Brazilian.
    • 23' Nice work from Thiago as he dinks a pass through for Iniesta but the midfielder can't get the ball under control as he enters the box and fails to get a shot away as a result.
    • 22' Ander Iturraspe chops down Iniesta to attract howls of derision from the thousands packed into Camp Nou. No booking though.
    • 21' Gomez plays the ball out to Toquero on the right and his cross for De Marcos is turned behind for a corner by Pique. Martinez is penalised for a push when the delivery from Markel Susaeta comes in though.
    • 20' Javier Mascherano snaps into a fantastic tackle in midfield to win the ball back for Barca. The tenacious edge he adds to the side is very important.
    • 18' Stat from Opta: "Guardiola’s men have won all but one of their home league games this season, averaging 4.1 goals per game and are unbeaten in 32 on their own turf (D3)."
    • 17' Ibai Gomez produces a delicious ball with the outside of his boot to find Gaizka Toquero, who is offside when floating a header over the bar.
    • 16' Busquets leaps into the air and accidentally wraps his legs around Oscar de Marcos as the two players get in quite a tangle.
    • 15' Messi goes in search of the opener. Bilbao lose possession just outside their own box and Thiago slips a pass to his team-mate, who negotiates his way around one challenge before seeing his effort blocked.
    • 13' Bielsa looks absolutely furious on the touchline after Bilbao are guilty of a sloppy pass to cede possession back to Barca.
    • 11' Stat from Opta: "Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 20 league games at home to sides from the Basque Country, winning 18 and drawing just two."
    • 10' Adriano throws himself to the floor to try and win a free kick from Javi Martinez but the referee isn't fooled and play continues.
    • 9' Alexis Sanchez, Messi and Andres Iniesta are all involved in a flowing move but it breaks down when the Spain international is, for once, guilty of a poor touch and loses possession.
    • 8' Barca have a goal ruled out. Messi lifts an outrageous scooped pass over a Bilbao defender for Alves, who gets his toe to the ball and pokes it square to Thiago, who converts from eight yards. However, the youngster had strayed just offside.
    • 7' Stat from Opta: "Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 11 league meetings with Athletic (W8 D3)."
    • 6' Chance for Barca! After Dani Alves has a firm effort from range punched out by Gorka Iraizoz, Barca surge forward again and Cristian Tello cuts back for Pique, who turns his shot over the bar from 10 yards out.
    • 4' Gerard Pique embarks on a run upfield, typically, but is caught out when being dispossessed in the centre circle.
    • 3' Now Valdes is called upon to smother a low cross from the left as Bilbao apply more pressure. It has been a decent start from Marcelo Bielsa's side.
    • 2' Victor Valdes almost gets himself in trouble when dealing with a pass back, but Barcelona love to play under that kind of pressure and the keeper clears.
    • 1' KICK OFF!
    • 20:58 Barca fans will have been hoping that Osasuna could do them a favour by beating Real Madrid earlier this evening - no such luck for them as Jose Mourinho's men have just finished annihilating La Liga's sixth-best side. Osasuna 1-5 Real Madrid
    • 20:55 Both sides have rested players with one eye on their European campaigns, which resume next week. Xavi and Puyol are on the bench for Barca while Llorente and Muniain are among Bilbao's subs.
    • 20:50 TEAMS: Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano; Busquets, Thiago, Iniesta; Alexis, Messi, Tello. //// Athletic Bilbao (4-3-3): Iraizoz; Iraola, Javi Martinez, Ekiza, Aurtenetxe; Iturraspe, De Marcos, Inigo Perez; Ibai, Susaeta, Toquero.
    • 20:45 Welcome to our LIVE coverage of Barcelonas match against Athletic Bilbao.

Team Line-up & Ratings

  • FC Barcelona

    Manager: Josep Guardiola

  • Athletic Bilbao

    Manager: Marcelo Bielsa

  • Line-up

    Expected Line-Up

    • Starting line-up

      • Víctor Valdés
      • Dani Alves
      • J. Mascherano
      • G. Piqué
      • A. Correia
      • S. Busquets Yellow Card
      • Thiago
      • A. Iniesta Goal Substitution Out (77′)
      • A. Sánchez Substitution Out (83′)
      • Tello Substitution Out (62′)
      • L. Messi Goal


      • C. Puyol
      • J. Pinto
      • S. Keita Substitution In83′
      • Xavi Substitution In77′
      • Pedro Substitution In62′
      • M. Montoya
      • I. Cuenca
    • Starting line-up

      • G. Iraizoz
      • A. Iraola
      • J. Martínez Yellow Card
      • Ekiza
      • J. Aurtenetxe
      • A. Iturraspe Yellow Card
      • O. De Marcos
      • Iñigo Pérez Substitution Out (45′)
      • M. Susaeta
      • I. Gómez Substitution Out (45′)
      • G. Toquero Yellow Card Substitution Out (59′)


      • F. Llorente Substitution In59′
      • F. Amorebieta
      • A. Herrera Substitution In45′
      • M. San José
      • R. Fernández
      • I. Muniain Substitution In45′
      • J. Ramalho
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