Barcelona 2-0 Athletic Bilbao: Leo Messi At It Again As The Catalans Cruise Towards The La Liga Title
Barcelona stepped a foot closer to the La Liga title as they beat Athletic Bilbao 2-0. An early strike from Alcacer and another goal from Lionel Messi ensured the comfortable win, much before half-time. The Argentine was in the thick of things, as he played a major role in the first goal.
Coutinho lined one up when Alba cut it back for him, but that only hit the cross bar. Just before half-time, the former Liverpool midfielder hit the post again, unfortunately. Ousmane Dembele too tested Kepa but was denied firmly. Regardless, the Catalans were always in the driving seat and never looked like conceding. They are now 11 points clear at the top after Villareal stunned Atletico Madrid with two late goals to win 2-1 by coming from behind.
Barcelona Players Ratings
Marc-André Ter Stegen: 8/10
These comfortable outings in goal are becoming a habit for the German, who made the routine saves and looked settled at the back.
Sergi Roberto: 8/10
He was sharp at tracking the runs and attempted through balls. Roberto was rather composed at the back. Going forward, he certainly played his part.
Samuel Umtiti: 7.5/10
Solid throughout the game. He was a pivotal figure at the back, shutting out any dribbles and clearing his lines well. Needs to stop conceding unnecessarily fouls.
Gerard Pique: 8/10
Set up a strong back line, won the aerial battles and kept Merino in check. Otherwise, he was not tested much.
Jordi Alba: 9/10
A genius when getting forward down the left flank, Alba’s delivery was unmatched. He cut it back for Alcacer and kept knocking at the Bilbao defence. Defensively, he was unbreakable.
He threaded passes all around the pitch, spread the play and reacted to Bilbao’s high press well. Faded as the game went on though.
Ivan Rakitic: 7.5/10
Anchored the proceedings, kept hold of the ball well and was fine with the dead ball. He gained possession many a time.
Ousmane Dembele: 8.5/10
Teed up Messi with an assist and constantly ran down the right channel, with and without the ball. His pace and dynamism proved to be a huge threat to the opposition.
Philippe Coutinho: 8.5/10
Cut inside well, linked up with his teammates, exchanged passes beautifully and showed his vision by picking the best of passes. Unlucky to have been denied by the woodwork twice.
Lionel Messi: 9.5/10
Ran riot in the early stages of the game, as he weaved his way past the opposition defence, completing dribbles, over and over again. He played a huge role in the first goal and smoothly scored the second with an accurate finish.
Paco Alcacer: 7/10
Not always involved in the build-up play as he only waited for the final ball but was deadly when given a chance or an opening. His finishing was excellent.
Andres Iniesta: 7/10
Kept hold of the ball well, was industrious in the middle and provided a fine defensive support.
Aleix Vidal: 6/10
Had a late cameo but the job was done by the time he came on.
André Gomes: N/A
Not enough time to make an impact.