Spanish La Liga
Ath Bilbao2Barcelona5

Athletic Bilbao 2-5 Barcelona

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi has contributed to 14 goals for Barcelona in 2015, scoring (nine) and creating (five)

Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona as they moved within a point of La Liga leaders Real Madrid after winning a breathless encounter at Athletic Bilbao.

Messi's deflected free-kick, and a precise finish into the bottom corner from Luis Suarez put Barca in control.

Athletic's Mikel Rico stroked in after half-time, before Oscar De Marcos's own goal and Neymar put Barca 4-1 up.

Home striker Aritz Aduriz hit a fourth goal in seven minutes for 4-2, then Barca's Pedro tapped in a late fifth.

After opening the scoring, Argentina captain Messi turned provider to help create each of Barcelona's other four goals.

Neymar could have added a sixth, shooting straight at Athletic keeper Gorka Iraizoz when clean through, as Barca showed little mercy on a home side reduced to 10 men for the final 15 minutes.

Athletic defender Xabier Etxeita was sent off for a crude challenge on former Liverpool forward Suarez.

Luis Suarez
Luis Suarez scored his first goal in six matches and his third La Liga strike of the season

But, even with 11 men, the home side did not look capable of preventing a comfortable win for the visitors.

Barcelona were accused of being in "crisis" a month ago as speculation about Messi's future and political in-fighting at boardroom level followed a surprise defeat at David Moyes' Real Sociedad.

Coach Luis Enrique's position also came under scrutiny as that insipid performance saw Barca trail arch-rivals Real Madrid in the Spanish title race.

However, the Catalan club have won their last five league matches - nine across all competitions - to strengthen their ambitions of regaining the title from Atletico Madrid.

The defending champions, who are third, blew open the title race with a 4-0 home win against Real in Saturday's Madrid derby.

And that heavy defeat for Real, coupled with Barca scoring 21 in their last five wins, means Luis Enrique's side now have a superior goal difference than their rivals - which could prove vital in the title race.

Elsewhere, Valencia moved up to fourth with a 2-1 victory at Espanyol, leapfrogging Sevilla who lost 2-1 at Getafe.

Line-ups

Ath Bilbao

  • 1Iraizoz
  • 10De Marcos
  • 16EtxeitaBooked at 75mins
  • 4Laporte
  • 24BalenziagaBooked at 40minsSubstituted forAurtenetxeat 52'minutes
  • 6San José
  • 17Rico Moreno
  • 14SusaetaSubstituted forEtxebarria Urkiagaat 69'minutes
  • 29López CabreraBooked at 69mins
  • 19MuniainSubstituted forGurpegiat 78'minutesBooked at 90mins
  • 20Aduriz

Substitutes

  • 3Aurtenetxe
  • 7Etxebarria Urkiaga
  • 11Gómez
  • 13Herrerín Buisán
  • 18Gurpegi
  • 23Aketxe
  • 30Williams

Barcelona

  • 13Bravo
  • 22Dani AlvesBooked at 45minsSubstituted forAdrianoat 69'minutes
  • 3Piqué
  • 24Mathieu
  • 18Alba
  • 4Rakitic
  • 5Busquets
  • 6XaviSubstituted forRafinhaat 74'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 9L SuárezSubstituted forPedroat 80'minutes
  • 11Neymar

Substitutes

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 7Pedro
  • 8Iniesta
  • 12Rafinha
  • 14Mascherano
  • 15Bartra
  • 21Adriano
Referee:
Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz
Attendance:
43,800

Match Stats

Home TeamAth BilbaoAway TeamBarcelona
Possession
Home27%
Away73%
Shots
Home15
Away19
Shots on Target
Home6
Away10
Corners
Home4
Away4
Fouls
Home15
Away9

Live Text

Match ends, Athletic Club 2, Barcelona 5.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Athletic Club 2, Barcelona 5.

Foul by Pedro (Barcelona).

Mikel Rico (Athletic Club) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Carlos Gurpegi (Athletic Club) is shown the yellow card.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Óscar De Marcos.

Attempt saved. Neymar (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Pedro.

Attempt saved. Neymar (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Pedro.

Offside, Barcelona. Sergio Busquets tries a through ball, but Lionel Messi is caught offside.

Offside, Barcelona. Gerard Piqué tries a through ball, but Pedro is caught offside.

Goal!

Goal! Athletic Club 2, Barcelona 5. Pedro (Barcelona) right footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Sergio Busquets.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Pedro replaces Luis Suárez because of an injury.

Offside, Barcelona. Rafinha tries a through ball, but Luis Suárez is caught offside.

Substitution

Substitution, Athletic Club. Carlos Gurpegi replaces Iker Muniain.

Rafinha (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Mikel Rico (Athletic Club).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Luis Suárez (Barcelona) because of an injury.

Dismissal

Xabier Etxeita (Athletic Club) is shown the red card for fighting.

Luis Suárez (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Xabier Etxeita (Athletic Club).

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Rafinha replaces Xavi.

Attempt missed. Jordi Alba (Barcelona) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Adriano with a cross.

Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Jon Aurtenetxe (Athletic Club).

Substitution

Substitution, Athletic Club. Beñat replaces Markel Susaeta.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Adriano replaces Dani Alves.

Booking

Unai López (Athletic Club) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Gerard Piqué (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Unai López (Athletic Club).

Goal!

Goal! Athletic Club 2, Barcelona 4. Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Iker Muniain with a through ball.

Attempt blocked. Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

Attempt saved. Neymar (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

Goal!

Goal! Athletic Club 1, Barcelona 4. Neymar (Barcelona) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

Attempt saved. Unai López (Athletic Club) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Markel Susaeta.

Goal!

Goal! Athletic Club 1, Barcelona 3. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from very close range to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Luis Suárez with a cross.

Attempt blocked. Mikel Rico (Athletic Club) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Jon Aurtenetxe (Athletic Club) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Neymar.

Goal!

Goal! Athletic Club 1, Barcelona 2. Mikel Rico (Athletic Club) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner.

goal

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