- Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona saw Rojiblancos claim a 1-0 win over Barca in their La Liga opener
- Luis Suarez missed a sitter for Barcelona and was later replaced in the second half
- Aritz Aduriz netted the only goal of the match in the 89th minute for Athletic Bilbao
A late goal from super sub Aritz Aduriz saw Athletic Bilbao claim all three points against Messi-less Barcelona in their 2019-2020 La Liga opener on Friday, August 16, at the San Mamés Stadium.
Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde handed summer arrivals - Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann their debuts during the encounter.
In the 7th minute, the home-side came close to scoring the opener after Inaki Williams almost benefitted from a mistake off Ousmane Dembele in the penalty box, but his strike heading for the net was kept away by Barcelona shot-stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
The encounter did not witness many actions until Luis Suarez narrowly missed breaking the deadlock for Barça after the half hour mark.
Athletic Bilbao’s Unai Lopez wrong back pass to his goalkeeper Unai Simon fell for Suarez, who intercepted the ball, but his strike towards goal could only find the crossbar with scores remaining goalless.
However, the Uruguayan forward could not continue the game after suffering a knock, with Rafinha stepping in as his replacement.
With two minutes before the break, the substitute forced Athletic Bilbao’s goalkeeper to tip the ball over the bar.
After the restart, Barcelona improved on their first half performance, with Ivan Rakitic replacing Alena minutes into the second half.
In the 70th minute, Rakitic effort from a loose ball inside the home-sides penalty box came close to breaking the deadlock, but the strike missed target by inches.
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With time running out, Griezmann missed a chance after he watched in disbelief as his header went over the bar, leaving scores at 0-0.
However, with the game heading for a barren draw, Aritz Aduriz netted the winner for Rojiblancos in the dying moment of the game, courtesy of an acrobatic volley that left Barca goalie in wonderland.
At the blast of the final whistle, with the home-side claiming maximum points to kick-start their La Liga campaign on a winning note.
Legit.ng reported earlier Neymar switch to Barcelona from PSG could not be reached by chieftains of both clubs on Tuesday, August 12, despite holding face-to-face discussions with Ligue 1 champions.
According to AS.com, Barcelona sent a powerful delegation that includes executive director Javier Bordás, chief negotiator and Neymar family confidant Andre Cury alongside technical secretary Éric Abidal to discuss a potential deal for Neymar that will also see Philippe Coutinho joining the French champions.
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