How to Watch Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona

Barcelona is coming off a 1-1 draw vs.

Barcelona have handed Real Madrid a boost with their goalless draw against Athletic Club, as their lead at the top of LaLiga Santander is now just six points.

Barcelona have dropped four of the last six points available, failing to capitalise on Atletico Madrid's two defeats and have therefore given Real Madrid reason to believe they can pull off a miraculous comeback in the title race.

Lionel Messi's thigh problem dominated the pre-match talk, but the Argentine was named in the Barcelona XI, with Philippe Coutinho also keeping his spot despite struggling for form in recent weeks.

Barca shot-stopper Marc Andre Ter Stegen was called upon after 25 minutes to expertly tip a shot from Markel Susaeta over the top.

Luis Suarez scores in each half and Bilbao's chances of survival take a hit.

Bilbao goalkeeper Iago Herrerin had to keep out a powerful Messi drive in the 37th minute, but Barcelona struggled for inspiration in the first half and were fortunate to enter the half-time break on level terms, surviving another late scare when Raul Garcia missed the post from a risky area.

Ter Stegen then had to keep out an overhead kick from Raul Garcia before Yuri had a goal-bound strike deflected wide as the match continued to produce exciting moments. Messi was picked but not fully recovered while Ousmane Dembele was fit enough only for the bench, having shaken off an ankle injury. Youngster Carles Alena made far more of an impact in his cameo, and the Chilean will need to up his game if he is to turn his fortunes around.

Williams had a wonderful chance to send Bilbao ahead in the 80th minute when the forward met a free kick from Muniain, but the ball flew just wide of the post, before the in-form Spain global fired straight at Ter Stegen from another Muniain pass moments later. Raul Garcia's finish was blocked and Mikel San Jose's effort whistled inches outside of the post.

The home side finished the game with ten men after Oscar De Marcos received a second yellow card and was sent off in stoppage time, as the encounter ended goalless at San Mames.

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