Leo Messi embittered Marcelino García Toral’s debut as Athletic coach with a huge game, a performance he used to more in previous years, with two goals, two shots on the post and the gestation of the first of the 2-3 goals with the one that Barça won in San Mamés and that Pedri scored.
Athletic opened the scoring with a goal, against, by Iñaki Williams, and closed it with a good shot by Iker Muniain.
The meeting of the ‘Argentine crack’, well accompanied by Pedri González, Ousmane Dembélé, Frenki De Jong and even by Antoine Griezmann, left the brilliant start of Athletic in nothing, which took the lead in minute 3 and by minute 6 it could already win by 2-0.
It was not so. Barça reacted to get within seven points of the leadership, Messi took action on the matter and Athletic, who remains ninth in the table, will have better with the new coach.
The game started at a thousand an hour and Athletic was already taking advantage of the vertical football with the ball that the arrival of Marcelino promises.
The third minute of play had not been completed and Raúl García found, with a great pass, the counter of Williams. The fast local striker defined well against Ter Stegen after leaving his own field and dribbling Lenglet in the area.
Athletic had a similar second occasion in a gallop by Capa in which the side of Portugalete lacked finesse to leave the ball to Muniain in condition. The captain had to wait and Yuri, now without much angle, sent the ball to the side of the net.
It seemed like the beginning of a local win at the ease with which Athletic found spaces behind the defense of those today dressed in yellow.
But, curiously, the local team got there, who saw how Barça was acquiring place and rhythm and began to approach a splendid Simón under sticks but painful in the exits.
Dest opened the blaugrana fire with a great collective combination, Dembelé measured Simón in the goal and Messi looked for the tickle in a very past ball that he did not finish going, in which Yuri and Iñigo also trusted and that De Jong, Messi who had seen the ride to uncheck, returned the ball to the area so that Pedri, to the surprise of Nuñez, tied.
Starting from there is a visiting monologue, with numerous occasions to get ahead on the scoreboard. Alba and Dembélé tried, well answered by Simón, but Messi did not forgive him in the second false start of the international goal.
Messi looked for Pedri, Simón left the goal hastily and the canary gave with a precious footfall to the Argentine star so that he could beat the unguarded local goal.
To make matters worse, Athletic, in addition to turning the scoreboard, had been injured after half an hour Yuri, a player of extraordinary importance, due to a muscle problem.
Two shots from Muniain and Williams in the area, still 0-1 and blocked by Dest and Ter Stegen, and a center from Capa that did not find a shot, before the 1-2, completed the local offensive baggage in the first half.
Athletic started the second half better again, with three arrivals in which they threatened a tie at two. A volley from the edge of Vencedor, a forced shot by Williams in the first and another by Raúl in the second that was not expected.
But the one who gave was Barça again and, of course, Messi again. That he warned twice before. First, scoring in a tight offside and, later, with a great shot from the front that crashed into the post, very close to the squad.
In the third, in a similar shot but on the edge of the small area, Rosario’s no longer spared. That he again insisted on the stick in another shot that looked like a goal.
Messi was able to score again, but the one who did it was the other captain, Muniain, although already in the 90th minute and with little time to draw, with a good shot from the front.
– Data sheet:
2 – Athletic: Unai Simón; Capa, Unai Nuñez, Íñigo Martínez, Yuri (Balenziaga, m.31); De Marcos (Berenguer, m.65), Vencedor, Vesga (Dani García, m.65), Muniain; Williams and Raúl García (Morcillo, m.80).
3 – Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest (Mingueza, m.75), Araújo, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Busquets, De Jong, Pedri; Dembélé (Braithwaite, m.75), Griezmann and Messi.
Goals: 1-0, m.3: Williams. 1-1, m.14: Pedri. 1-2, m.38: Messi. 1-3, m.62: Messi. 2-3, m.90: Muniain.
Referee: Carlos del Cerro Grande (Madrid Committee). He showed a yellow card to the locals Vesga (m.27), Dani García (m.70), and to the visitors Lenglet (m.57).
VAR Referee: Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva (Galician Committee).
Incidents: Postponed match of the second day of LaLiga played in San Mamés behind closed doors due to health restrictions due to the pandemic. EFE