Barcelona 1-0 Athletic Club: Match review

EA Sports gave Athletic Club, Barcelona a tough challenge against Ernesto Valverde on matchday 10 of La Liga.

The Basques were in fifth place in the pre-start standings, with the Catalans two places above them.

Xavi Hernández chose a wise combination of youth and experience that evening. Marc-Andre Ter Stegen started in goal alongside the new central defensive duo of Andreas Christensen and Inigo Martinez.

Joao Cancelo and Alejandro Balde started as defenders.

 

In the middle, the Blaugrana had Gabi, Oriol Romeu and Ilkay Gundogan.

Ferran Torres, João Félix and Fermín López completed the starting eleven.

 

Club “Atletik” started the match with an advantage.

After the opening whistle, the Basque side confidently maintained possession, which ended with Inaki Williams forcing a save from Ter Stegen.

 

After 10 minutes, ‘Barcelona’ entered the offensive line. Ferran Torres and Balde led the charge up front, with Joao Felix and Joao Cancelo catching up.

 

The first big chance for Xavi’s men came in the 11th minute when Torres sent in a neat counter from the right.

His cross cleverly found Felix in space but unfortunately the youngster’s finish hit the bar.

 

The key moment of the game came three minutes later when Joao Félix was pushed down from the Athletic Club area.

Not even a VAR analysis awarded a penalty for the foul, although the Catalans missed their chances.

 

As time went on, both teams had more and more chances. Felix failed to beat Simon in the 20th minute of the first half and Ter Stegen had to make a save to block Inaki Williams’ shot in the 21st minute of the second half.

 

In the ensuing period, Barcelona and Athletic Club enjoyed intense periods of possession, alternating opening matches for each other.

But at the same time, the strong defense prevented many moves from being fruitful.

 

The visitors’ best chance of the first half surprisingly came through the Williams brothers in the last minute.

When Niko’s shot was blocked by the goalkeeper, his brother mercifully threw the ball away. Only Inigo Martinez’s final shot saved the Catalans.

Two minutes later, Nico Williams upped the ante again, this time in a certain goal setting position.

Ter Stegen’s save in the last minute was incredible.

Heading into the break, it was clear that the Azulgrana would need something special to close the gap on Real Madrid.

They may actually have been ahead, but they recognized that the odds were even against the Basque opposition.

Of the two teams, Athletic Club boasted the momentum going into the break.

 

The second half continued where the first half left off.

The first few minutes were not full of events, but the Catalan attack had some notable goals.

As time went on, Barcelona struggled to rely on their defenders to pose a threat in the penalty area. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough difficult cases to take advantage of this feature.

 

As time drew to a close, the hosts made the first clear move in the Athletic Club division.

Felix’s shot was poorly blocked by Simon, but Lopez failed to capitalize on the rebound.

 

In the 60th minute, Ronald Araujo and Lamin Yamal replaced Andreas Christensen and Oriol Romeu.

Just four minutes into his appearance, the La Masia protege is close to making quite the impression. The move started with Felix running forward before the Portuguese star laid the ball to Yamal.

But his shot missed the target.

 

Joao Cancelo made a solo run in the 75th minute of the first half and attempted a shot from distance but was unable to beat Unai Simon.

Barcelona were under increasing pressure but had no answer.

 

In the 79th minute, Marcos Alonso and Marc Giu came on for Alejandro Balde and Fermin Lopez.

Seconds after the change, Joao Felix brought Guiu into space with a beautiful ball.

The teenager used one touch to control the ball and found the net past Simon for his second.

Xavi’s replacement worked and we couldn’t have asked for a quicker impact.

 

Athletic Club were unable to get back into the game after the setback, which gave Barça a second boost. Felix came very close to scoring in the 90th minute, but his header was saved by Simon.

 

A win would give the Catalans a much-needed point ahead of El Clásico, setting up a thrilling clash next weekend.

At this tournament, Barcelona and Real Madrid have only 1 point, and the winner of the Clásico will take first place in La Liga.

 

For more updates on Barcelona’s news, please visit sportsearchers.com

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