Barca made to sweat for draw by impressive Bilbao

  • Barca made to sweat for draw by impressive Bilbao

Barca made to sweat for draw by impressive Bilbao

Earlier, had reported how Barcelona failed to stretch their lead at the summit of the Spanish League table to eight points after being stalemated by Athletic Bilbao in tough La Liga clash on Sunday night.

Bilbao had another opportunity in the 17th minute when Susaeta worked a yard of space before curling a wonderful effort towards the top corner, but Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen made a top save.

Ernesto Valverde's men returned in much more positive mood and Messi curled a 53rd-minute free-kick just over, although the Argentina worldwide was growing increasingly irritated by Bilbao's physical approach to marking him.

"This is a long season and we have to be top at the end of it".

"Leo is fine, he played feeling 100 percent, we may have had difficulties, but the fact he played means he was ready", added Valverde, after his assistant Jon Aspiazu had said before the game that the Argentine was not yet fully fit.

"We had the clearer chances, we had more shots and more corners and if anyone came closer to winning the game it was us", said Athletic coach Gaizka Garitano, whose side moved up to 13th in the standings.

Barcelona host relegation-threatened Real Valladolid next weekend before travelling to Lyon in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Ter Stegen then had to keep out an overhead kick from Raul Garcia before Yuri had a goal-bound strike deflected wide as the match continued to produce exciting moments.

First, Suarez peeled free at the back post but glanced wide from Messi's cross and then Messi hit the crossbar, the goal gaping after Iago Herrerin had rushed out to intercept Nelson Semedo.

The Argentina global was superb in the encounter against Bilbao, but his failure to score a goal makes many think probably he is not 100 percent fit.

Substitute Mikel San Jose blasted just wide as the home side finally managed to put together a second-half attack with 65 minutes gone and Williams saw an audacious flick from De Marcos' cross blocked six minutes later.

In between, Barca had enjoyed their best spell at the start of the second half but the gaps always seemed to close around the penalty area and they struggled to find a way through.

De Marcos received a second yellow card in injury-time for a handball but there was no time for Barce to feel the benefit.