2012 La Liga: Barcelona 2 – 0 Athletic Bilbao

By benim
In Live
Mar 31st, 2012
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And that’s full time. Barcelona go marching on, with Goals from Messi and Iniesta giving the champions victory
90′ +1
Xavi plays an incredible ball through the Bilbao defence to Pedro, who shoots, but Iraizoz is there once more to palm another effort away.
89′
OFF THE BAR!!! Iraizoz makes a fatal error by giving the ball straight to Barca. Messi dodges a volley of challenges, and squeezes the ball out to Keita, who rattles the crossbar with a left-footed effort.
89′
OFF THE BAR!!! Iraizoz makes a fatal error by giving the ball straight to Barca. Messi dodges a volley of challenges, and squeezes the ball out to Keita, who rattles the crossbar with a left-footed effort.
87′
Barcelona seem content to hold what they have now, and are maintaining possession of the ball in the centre of the park. It’s been an efficient from the champions.
85′
So, Bilbao are saving their best chances for the end of the match. If they had displayed this sort of form at the beginning of the match, we might have had a more interesting contest!
83′
Substitution Alexis Sánchez Seydou Keita
82′
Muniain picks out Susaeta brilliantly, but the 24-year-old’s goal-bound shot strikes Pique. Susaeta frantically appeals for a penalty, but the ball appeared to hit Pique on the side, not the arm.
80′
OFF THE LINE!!! De Marcos plays a wonderfully-weighted ball into Muniain’s path, but with Valdes beaten, Pique gets across and brilliantly hooks it off the line.
79′
Gerard Pique, of all people, finds some space down the left, but with Messi unmarked in the middle, the 25-year-old’s cross is wildly over-hit.
77′
Substitution Andrés Iniesta Luján Xavi
And Iniesta is being withdrawn in favour of Xavi. Having got the ball rolling for Barca tonight, the 27-year-old receives a standing ovation from the Camp Nou crowd.
76′
Barcelona have a free-kick in a threatening area after Susaeta hauled down Thiago.
74′
Messi darts inside from the right, and has a shot, but Iraizoz is comfortably behind it. The Argentine’s effort really lacked the necessary power to trouble a ‘keeper of Iraizoz’s quality.
72′
So, Barcelona are looking comfortable in their lead. But you have to give credit to Iraizoz, he’s had a great game between the posts for Bilbao.
69′
PIQUE!!!! Messi swings in the corner straight onto Pique’s head, but he mistimes his effort and it ends up being completely harmless. He should have buried that.
68′
ANOTHER SAVE!!! Busquets declines the invitation to shoot and squares it to Iniesta. Barca’s first goalscorer has a dig, the ball takes a massive deflection off Messi, but a sprawling Iraizoz tips it over the bar.
66′
Yellow Card Sergio Busquets Burgos
66′
Oh dear. Barcelona win the ball back and move into the box, but as the ball comes to Thiago, the 20-year-old slips, when he had a real opportunity to score. Lovely approach play by Barca, there.
64′
So, big 25 minutes coming up in the Liga title race. Bilbao have shown a bit more stability on the ball since the second goal – can they make it count and find a route back into the match?
62′

Substitution Tello Pedro
And Guardiola has made his first change of the evening, with Pedro replacing Tello. He needs to show some good form, with his Euro 2012 spot under threat..

59′
Substitution Toquero Fernando Llorente Torres
58′
Assist Tello
58′
Penalty Goal Lionel Messi
GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Lionel Messi steps up, and makes no mistake from the spot, despite a half-hearted Iraizoz dive in the right direction. Barcelona have a two-goal cushion!
58′
Yellow Card Javi Martínez
PENALTY!!! Tello is preparing to pull the trigger, but is bundled over Javi Martinez, who picks up a booking for his troubles!
56′
Yellow Card Iturraspe
Iturraspe quickly joins Toquero in the book after bundling over Iniesta. That’s not his first challenge of the Barcelona midfielder tonight…
55′
GREAT SAVE!! Messi fails to control a high ball properly, but recovers to play in Tello, who charges in from the left, but Iraizoz gets his body in front of the ball, again.
53′
Lionel Messi puts the ball in the back of the net after taking possession of a loose ball, but his effort is ruled out for offside. He’s adamant that the ball last touched a Basque player, however.
52′
Yellow Card Toquero
And Toquero gets his name taken by the referee after a clumsy tackle on Busquets in the centre of the park.
51′
Pique plays it forward to Thiago, and charges onwards to try and latch on to the 20-year-old return ball. However, it’s under-hit, and the defender can’t quite reach it in time.
50′
Dani Alves robs the ball just outside the Bilbao area and knocks it square to Messi. The Argentine wastes no time in shooting, but Javi Martinez gets across and blocks the shot. Great defending.
47′
GREAT CHANCE!!! Susaeta swings in a great free kick that Toquero meets, but the Bilbao forward is unable to get a telling touch on it, when he had a great chance to equalise. Barca scramble it away in the ensuing melee.
46′
Substitution Ibai Muniain
46′
Substitution Íñigo Pérez Ander
46′
Incidentally, Perez and Ibai Gomez have been replaced by Muniain and Herrera as the visitors try and get back in this match.
46′
And we’re back! Just 45 minutes for Bilbao to try and get back in this match, and put a dent in Barcelona’s title aspirations…
 
Incidentally, the widow of Cesar Rodriguez, whose goal-scoring record Lionel Messi recently surpassed, is at Camp Nou tonight to witness the ceremony paying tribute to the Argentine.
42′
MESSI!!! The Argentine goes on a trademark run, before unleashing a powerful shot goal-wards. Iraizoz, however, gets down well to beat the shot away.
40′
Goal Andrés Iniesta Luján
40′
GOAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Alexis Sanchez robs an opponent and feeds Messi, who taps it into Iniesta’s path. The Spaniard dodges a tackle, before blasting it into the roof of the net with his right-foot. No chance for Iraizoz.
39′
Despite being subjected to a number of challenges, Thiago manages to slip the ball to Tello, whose cross is disappointing – it was behind all of his team-mates.
37′
Pique is livid after his adjudged to have nudged Iturraspe in the Bilbao box. However, it looked to be a good decision from the officials.
36′
More lovely passing from Barcelona now. Alexis and Adriano combine well, but when the Chilean attempts to feed Thiago, his through ball is over-hit.
34′
Alves tries to thread a through ball in towards the front line, but Aurtenetxe intercepts the pass and clears it with relative ease.
32′
WHAT A CHALLENGE!!! Messi looks to be in, and is preparing to apply the finish when Borja Ekiza appears from nowhere to win the ball. Fantastic bit of defending.
30′
So close to a horrible defensive mix up. Iraizoz and Alexis both go for the same loose ball, but Javi Martinez comes from nowhere to put it out of play. The visitors survive, but that could have gone horribly wrong.
28′
the hosts are cranking up the pressure again. Iniesta picks his spot and blasts the ball goal-wards with his left-foot, but Iraizoz gets a fingertip to it to maintain his clean sheet. They’re pressing for the opener, though…
26′
OFF THE LINE!!!! A probing cross from Messi finds Pique at the far post. The Barca defender slides in and looks to have scored, but Aurtenetxe is there on the line knock it clear. Great bit of defending!
25′

Barceona threaten with a free-kick. Messi is harried in the middle of the Bilbao half, and takes the resulting set piece quickly forcing a great reaction save from Iraizoz.

23′
Thiago dribbles across the box and tries to prod it into Iniesta’s path, but the Barcelona midfielder can’t quite manage to get the ball under control and it squirms away from him. That would have been a great chance, had he managed to control it….
22′
A rather heavy-handed challenge from Iturraspe on Iniesta attracts the boos of the Camp Nou faithful. The referee waves play on, and Iturraspe is, perhaps, lucky to get away without a booking.
21′
Susaeta puts in a great delivery from the corner, but amid all the push and shove in the box, the referee blows up for a foul.
19′
The relentless Barcelona assault on Iraizoz’s goal seems to have subsided in the last few minutes. Bielsa’s side are seeing much more of the ball, and win a corner after Toquero’s cross cannons behind off Pique.
17′
A rare sight of goal for the visitors. Ibai Gomez chips a clever ball to Toquero, whose looping header goes over when he could have done better. He was ruled offside, but some great build up play, nonetheless.
16′
And Barcelona have another corner, with Aurtenetxe conceding it.
14′
Bilbao can barely buy possession here. Barcelona are continuing to probe for an opener, but the Bilbao back line are standing firm. The crowd draw a collective breath as Messi shoots from the edge of the area, but his shot is charged down.
12′
A chipped ball down the left almost plays in Tello, but Iraizoz comes out of his goal and shepherds the ball out of play. It’s been all Barca since the early shaky moment from Valdes.
10′
Heavy boos are raining down from the Camp Nou crowd as Adriano darts into the Bilbao half, and goes down about 30 yards from goal. The home faithful are adamant that their side deserves a free-kick, but the referee refuses to sound his whistle.
7′
OFFSIDE!!!!! A WONDERFUL Messi chip plays in Alves, who pokes the ball through to Thiago. The 20-year-old puts it in the back of the net, but is rightly called offside. Incredible stuff from Messi!
6′
SO CLOSE!!!! Alves forces a great save from Iraizoz with a shot from distance, but Barcelona recover the ball and work it to Pique, whose shot goes inches wide! He really could have done better with that opportunity.
5′
First corner of the game goes to Barcelona. Alexis Sanchez turns wonderfully on the edge of the box and feeds Messi, who is closes down by Javi Martinez, who is all too happy to concede a corner.
3′
Victor Valdes sees the ball for the first time tonight. Some quick feet from Ibai fool Pique, and the 22-year-old sends in a low cross. The Barcelona ‘keeper spills the ball, but soon seizes it with De Marcos looming. Positive start from the guests!
2′
Dani Alves makes a charge into the the Bilbao half, but is soon stopped in his tracks by a couple of strong, but fair tackles.
1′
And we’re off! Bilbao get the same started, and there’s a nervous moment for Iraizoz early on, as he miss-controls a back-pass, only to recover the ball with a Blaugrana shirt looming…

TEAM NEWS

Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola could rest some of his stars with an eye on Tuesday’s Champions League quarter-final decider against AC Milan when Athletic Bilbao visit Camp Nou on Saturday. Adriano is still sidelined with a muscle injury for the Catalans, although fellow Brazilian Dani Alves is back from domestic suspension.

Mikel San Jose is back from suspension for Athletic Bilbao, who have a full squad to choose from for the trip to the Catalan capital.

MANAGER QUOTES

Pep Guardiola: “The timing is what it is. It’s better to have three or four days off but teams that want to reach the finals must play many matches close together and in this kind of situation. And we’ll do well not to think that Athletic will arrive here tired. I consider him (Bielsa) the best there is and it is a pleasure for me to face him. I have so much admiration for Bielsa and I try to learn from him.”

Marcelo Bielsa: “What’s important is that we don’t walk straight into a trap. We have to avoid that at all costs. We will play our best available XI and did not think about resting anyone ahead of the match.”

MATCH FACTS

Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 11 league meetings with Athletic (W8 D3).

At the Camp Nou, the blaugrana have won their last seven league meetings with the Lions.

Barça have scored in their last 28 league games against Athletic.

Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 20 league games at home to sides from the Basque Country, winning 18 and drawing just two.

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).

Athletic have dropped the most points in the last five minutes of league games this season (11).

Barcelona have kept the most clean sheets in the league this season (15).

Barcelona have received the fewest yellow cards at home of all sides in La Liga this season (25, including one red for two yellows).

Only Borja Valero (77) has won more fouls than Muniain in the league this season (74).

Messi has scored in six consecutive league games, beating his previous record by one game.

Messi has averaged two goals per game at home in the league this season, Málaga and Real Madrid are the only two teams who have averaged more.

MATCH ODDS

Barcelona 1/7, Atheltic Bilbao 22/1, Draw 19/2

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