|First Division - Day 2|
Athletic Bilbao 3 - Barcelona 1
Larrainzar, Alkorta, Oscar Vales, Larrazábal; Urrutia, Orbaiz; Joseba
Etxeberria, Julen Guerrero (Felipe 85'), Ezquerro (Yeste 70'); Urzaiz (Javi
González 80'). 4-2-3-1.
Team changes: Bilbao: Ezquerro for Del Horno / Barcelona: Abelardo, Petit, Kluivert for Cocu, Alfonso, Dani
Barcelona were brought down to earth on Saturday by a workman-like display by Athletic Bilbao and a little help from the referee. Riding high after their midweek hammering of Leeds United in the Champions League, Barça came looking for a victory in the always difficult San Mames stadium. Although Serra Ferrer changed his 3-2-3-2 formation, adding an extra defender at the back, his team attacked right from the start, with Frank De Boer shooting just wide from a free kick and Lafuente saving from Gerard. Halfway through the first half they took the lead, with the two front runners Rivaldo and Kluivert linking up for the Dutch strikers third goal in a week.
The goal woke up the Basque side, with Dutruel making three first class saves in a short period of time from Ezquerro, Guerrero and Alkorta. It looked as if the French keeper couldn't be beaten, but referee Daudén Ibáñez stepped in to award a dubious penalty as Etxeberria fell rather too quickly when tackled by Petit ( who was substituting for the injured Cocu). Penalty specialist Larrazábal struck the ball cleanly, and although Dutruel got a hand to it, the ball crept over the line.
Serra Ferrer went for broke and put on Alfonso for Overmars at half time, and in the first minute after the kick off Lafuente turned Kluivert's shot for a corner. The turning point of the match though came a few minutes later as Etxeberria broke clear once again. Dutruel dived to stop him but the keeper appeared to catch the Spanish international forward with his arm and Daudén had no qualms in giving a second penalty, sending off the keeper into the bargain. The Barça manager pulled off Gerard to put on his reserve keeper Arnau, and Larrazábal once again came forward to score his second of the night.
Even then the visitors didn't give up as Dani came on for Simao, and Daudén evened up the numbers sending off Urrutia for a second bookable offence. But after Arnau saved well from Etxeberria, Yeste came through the depleted Barça defence to score his first goal for his club and finish matters off. Barça had a lesson in humility, and go on to play Besiktas in Turkey with their feet firmly on the ground. At least they didn't get any injuries, and Luis Enrique could return for that match after six months in dry dock. Bilbao have shown that they will be a force to be reckoned with, and Txetxu Rojo has returned some sense of order to their play after Luis Fernández's inventive style. As for Daudén Ibáñez, he has now shown 20 cards in two games, including two reds, and has given three penalties. Watch out for him in our white stick awards section this year, he could clean up.