An Aritz Aduriz late goal handed Champions Barcelona their first defeat of the season in the La Liga season opener at the San Memes.
The build up to this game, from the Basque club’s point of view was dominated by reports of their legend and striker Aritz Aduriz announcing that he will retire at the end of this season.
For Barcelona,the biggest news was the absence of captain Leo Messi.
The Argentine, who was recently nominated as one of the 3 finalists for the UEFA player of the year award was injured in training and even missed the final pre season tour of USA.
The imminent depature of Philipe Coutinho to Bayern Munich as well as the club’s pursuit of Neymar also dominated headlines in the build up to the game.
The first 30 minutes of the game saw the home side in control of the game with Inaki Williams calling Ter Stegen , in post for Barcelona ,into action.
The catalan giants build up was rather slow and casual but the best chance of the game fell to Luis Suarez who hit the post, with only the keeper to beat, after he intercepted a terrible back pass from Unai Gomez.
Suarez then injured his calf and had to be taken of in the 37th minute and replaced by Rafinha.
This paved the way for debutant Antoine Griezmann the lincense to play in his preferred CF role.
It was 0-0 at half time. In the second half, Barca picked up the pace in search of the equaliser but the resilience of the Bilbao defence foiled every attempt.
In the 88th minute, Athletic Club substituted Aritz Aduriz on and the veteran striker made an immediate impact.
After just one minute of coming on, Aduriz scored a stunning scissor kick to all but secure the win for Bilbao.
After the game,Aduriz couldn’t hide his excitement.
“Sometimes football is so beautiful and when you least expect it a ball like that comes to your feet and goes into the net,” Aduriz told reporters.
“Barcelona are the best team around and it’s very difficult to last a whole game taking them on and matching them for space but we knew exactly how to manage our energy.”
La Liga continues today with Real anf Atletico Madrid all in action.
Barcelona face Real Betis next week in their first home game of the season.