• Match review

Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Barcelona: Player Ratings as Raphinha strikes again for Catalans

© Ace Football

Barca kept another La Liga clean sheet to snatch the three points at San Mames.

Barcelona defeated Athletic Bilbao 1-0 in their La Liga game on Sunday. A solid defensive display saw Barca maintain their lead at the top of the league table.

Xavi continues conservative approach!

Carlo Ancelotti criticized Barcelona for playing too defensively in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie earlier this month. But Barca’s recent displays show that this is more than a specific decision for El Clasico.

Barca started the game by dominating the possession early on, but Bilbao gradually took control. The hosts created several serious chances, forcing Marc-Andre ter Stegen to make a few saves.

The Catalans then sneaked into an injury-time lead through Raphinha. Following an assist from Sergio Busquets, the Brazil international smashed the ball into the far corner of the net with a low shot.

Barca made a few attempts to increase their lead at the beginning of the second half. But Bilbao increased the pressure as the game went on.

Inaki Williams hit the post in the 72nd minute before scoring a disallowed equalizer 15 minutes later. The hosts put immense pressure on Barca’s backline from both flanks but couldn’t break their resistance.

Williams came close to scoring again in the 93rd minute, but Ter Stegen secured Barca’s three points with another brilliant save off the line.

The victory maintains Barca’s nine-point lead at the top of the La Liga table. The Catalans must face Real Madrid in their next league game at Camp Nou next Sunday.

Player Ratings

Athletic Bilbao: Agirrezabala (6), De Marcos (6), Vivian (7), Martinez (7), Balenziaga (6), D. Garcia (7), Vesga (7), Berenguer (6), R. Garcia (6), N. Williams (5), I. Williams (5).

Bench: Berchiche (6), Capa (7), Muniain (7), Zarraga (6), Guruzeta (6).

Barcelona: Ter Stegen (8); Roberto (6), Christensen (7), Kounde (7), Balde (7); Busquets (7), De Jong (7), Gavi (6); F. Torres (6), Lewandowski (7), Raphinha (7).

Bench: Alonso (7), Kessie (6), Fati (6), Alarcon (-).