Athletic 2 – Barcelona 2: Soggy Conditions, Sloppy DefendingBy: Paul | November 6th, 2011
Athletic looked to be set to hand Barcelona their first defeat of the season and come away with a stunning victory. Unfortunately, messy defensive work in the final moments of the match cost Athletic dearly.
As expected, Barcelona played like Barcelona. In soggy conditions, they still held on to possession and passed the ball around wonderfully. As such, the Blaugrana had the first chances of the match but were unable to make them count. Athletic fought back with Markel Susaeta taking a chance that was easily saved before a breakthrough 20 minutes in.
Susaeta was again involved, laying the ball off to Ander Herrera who was able to curl his shot past Victor Valdes. It wasn’t long before Barcelona responded, with Cesc Fabregas heading home a cross from Abidal.
While Barcelona remained largely in control, Athletic were able to make some threatening moves, though neither team found another goal in the first half.
In the 54th minute Lionel Messi appeared to have scored, but was called offside just before an appeal by Athletic for a penalty after Ander was knocked down in the box (probably wasn’t deserved, though).
In the 80th, Abidal attempted to clear the ball which was then touched by Gerard Pique and sent into the back of Barcelona’s goal. Athletic held on, and just when it looked like Los Leones would steal a win, Athletic’s defense cracked- a shot was taken and saved by Gorka who failed to hold on. Athletic’s defenders looked confused, and Lionel Messi ran up and drove the ball home to rescue a point for Barcelona.
Maybe it was the rain, but the last 15 minutes or so of the match saw defensive mistakes from both teams. Overall, I am disappointed that the win couldn’t be attained, but still pleased to see Athletic come away with a point against Barcelona.