Ivan Rakitic rescues Barcelona against uncompromising Athletic Bilbao team

Ivan Rakitic rescues Barcelona against uncompromising Athletic Bilbao team

Barcelona returned to winning ways in La Liga with a tight 1-0 victory over Athletic Bilbao at Camp Nou on Tuesday.

The Blaugrana were awful for 50-55 minutes but the team developed a lot of thanks to quality selected substitutions by manager Quique Setien.

La Masia's product Riqui Puig added the energy and drive that was lacking as the Catalan side labored to break down a frenetic Athletic Club but it was Ivan Rakitic who scored the winner to claim three vital points for the league champions.

Barca made a decent start to the game, however, slowly but surely, Barca started to fail in keeping their intensity.  

Athletic grew into the game with more ball in their legs, tons of speed on the transition, and a couple of very dangerous chances were generated for Yeray and Inaki Williams but both failed to convert them into goals.

Several minutes after the second half started, Ivan Rakitic and Ansu Fati came on from the bench with loads of energy as well, and hosts started to create better.

The goal came in the 70th minute when Croatian midfielder practically stole the ball from Messi near 16 and found the back of the net, and the Blaugrana finally had the wishful result.

Hosts were obviously more relaxed after netting the goal and there was a swagger about them in the final minute but a combination of poor finishing and really good goalkeeping by Unai Simon stopped Barca from doubling their lead.

With the win, Barca now moves the pressure on rivals Real Madrid who can recapture top spot with a win over relegation contenders Mallorca who travel to Spain's capital on Wednesday night.

Standings provided by SofaScore LiveScore


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