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First Division - Day 34

Barcelona 2 - Athletic Bilbao 1

Barcelona: Pinto; Dani Alves, Marc Bartra, Mascherano, Adriano; Xavi (Fàbregas 69‘), Alex Song, Iniesta; Alexis (Tello 86’), Messi, Pedro. 4-3-3.
Athletic: Iraizoz; De Marcos, San José, Laporte, Balenziaga; Iturraspe (Beñat 82’), Erik Morán (Mikel Rico 63’); Susaeta (Toquero 85’), Ander Herrera, Muniain; Aduríz. 4-2-3-1.

0-1. 49. Aduríz. Latched on to loose ball and struck angled shot past Pinto.
1-1. 72. Pedro. Poked ball past Iraizoz after Alexis fired shot across goal.
2-1. 74. Messi. Fired low free kick round defensive wall from edge of area.

Yellow cards: Iturraspe 06’, Marc Bartra 20’, Ander Herrera 70’, De Marcos 72’, Pedro 78’.

Barcelona are not out of the title race just yet, and they remain four points behind leaders Atlético after coming from behind to beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 in the last match on Sunday evening. Three devastating defeats in the last ten days had left them out of both cup competitions and struggling in the league, and once again they had problems finding the net, Iraizoz saving from Pedro, Messi and Alexis, Messi having a goal ruled out for offside, Balenziaga clearing off the line from Adriano and Alexis firing a shot against the crossbar from only a yard or so out. Athletic too had their chances, in particular an overhead kick from Aduríz which hit the post, Pinto doing well to save Susaeta’s follow up, and some five minutes in to the second half Aduríz beat Pinto with an angled shot to open the scoring. Susaeta had a strike disallowed for a borderline offside soon afterwards, and Barça continued to waste chances, with Iraizoz saving from Pedro and Messi shooting wide. However with twenty minutes to go Pedro turned a wayward Alexis shot past the keeper to level the scores, and just two minutes later Messi fired home a low free kick to get his side back to winning ways.