Leo Messi was once again the differential factor for Barcelona, the man who unlocks any game with his genius and, above all, with his goals. Athletic fears him even in the field draw. When he is inspired, nobody stops him, he does everything well, even what he seems to do wrong. In a game that started crookedly for his team, he connected with Pedri, Dembélé, Griezmann or Jordi Alba and made them better, to mount a quilombo to the Bilbaoans who had their new coach. The best footballer in the world had his night.
The crash began at a frenetic pace. Neither team had had time to fully position themselves when Iñaki Williams showed Marcelino his credentials. He did what he does best, running, in a spectacular delivery from Raúl García. When he reached the area, he outwitted Lenglet and shot hard to beat Ter Stegen.
Athletic started well, perhaps too well to have a rival in front with so many resources and with so much time ahead, so they tried not to slow down. With a very open Barça, he entrusted himself to the counterattack and almost succeeded in a very fast race by Capa that ended with Yuri with a shot to the side of the net.
The game became an exchange of blows, because Barcelona did not collapse. Dembélé, on the right, immediately began to pupate the Athletic defense. A combination of the Frenchman with Messi and Griezmann ended with a shot by Lenglet that Unai Simón deflected. Not a minute passed before Williams met Ter Stegen head-on again, although his shot fell short.
The game was frantic, Dembélé had another action in which he fired a cross so that the Athletic goalkeeper deflected again for a corner. But Unai Simón gave of lime and sand with the Barça in front. Just a minute later, he had no faith in a pumped ball. He doubted whether or not to go after him. De Jong, however, found no qualms about following the action, he arrived just to touch her back before she was lost over the baseline, and Pedri, who was following the play and who is a demon on the field, entered from head before the monumental oversight of Núñez, who was already the third in less than a quarter of an hour, to equalize the score.
Athletic shrunk with the goal, gave way and no longer found the spaces of the first minutes, better adjusted Barcelona’s defense and with Messi increasingly active in the deployment. In addition, after half an hour Yuri withdrew, a headache on the right wing. Her thigh was sore and asked for the change. Dembélé had it easier.
And Messi too, because for a few minutes, Athletic lost its north and Barcelona found itself at ease and became a gale. Marcelino’s team shouted for rest, to rebuild what was breaking, when Pedri received the ball on the edge of the area and put it like a veteran to Leo Messi, who begins to find a very productive connection with the canary, and that he thanked him for the gift with the goal that put his team ahead after the initial hot flash.
The locals, without depth
Athletic had begun to lose their roles and Barcelona lacked aim to extend the lead in the minutes remaining until the break. The Barça team from the changing rooms came back more tame and Athletic stretched out for a while, trying to speed up the game, but without too much depth. Instead, each Barcelona arrival was a moment of trouble for Unai Simón’s goal, who breathed a sigh of relief when the linesman raised the pennant in a shot from Messi that finished the goal, or after a left-footed shot from the Argentine genius who was crashed into the post.
In video, the technicians of Barcelona and Athletic value the match positively
But Leo hadn’t finished his job in San Mamés, far from it. As always, he measured his moments and his participation in the game. He appeared again to put his foot to a center from Griezmann, who had connected with Jordi Alba, after an initial pass from Messi himself. It was the third, who put the icing on the cake, although he wanted more, and yet another shot hit the post. The recital of 10 lasted until the end of the game. Not even the loss of the ball that caused Muniain’s goal in the 90th minute marred his performance.