FC Barcelona - Athletic Club: Classic performance (5-1)
Barça’s impressive win over Bilbao means they have posted the best ever start by any team to a Spanish League season
Piqué, Messi (2), Adriano and Cesc scored the goals in a great exhibition of teamwork
Barça just don’t stop and with this evening’s win they made it 13 wins out of the first 14 games in La Liga so far this season - the best ever start to a league season by any Spanish team. The record was beaten with a great display against Athletic Bilbao, with an outstanding first 45 minutes . The team warmed the crowd with a classic, intense and brilliant display on a cold night at the Camp Nou.
Piqué opens the scoring
Both teams were pressuring high up the pitch and despite Bilbao’s man marking, there was plenty of space, with both keepers working as an extra defender to help build from the back and overcome the forwards’ pressing. It was all a bit fast and furious and chances weren’t coming easily, though Iniesta had a shot stopped by Iraizoz on 12 minutes. Ten minutes later, Piqué scored his first goal of the campaign after the Bilbao keeper had parried a Cesc shot from a corner.
That goal opened the floodgates for Barça’s attacking ambitions and soon after, Xavi put Messi through for the Argentinean to cleverly chip Iraizoz and although Amorebieta made a desperate attempt to clear, there was nothing he could do but help it in. Barça were using both flanks cleverly and opening up space for Messi through the middle, whilst denying Bilbao any chance to create danger. Cesc (min 38), Iniesta (min 40) and Messi, who hit the bar a minute before the break, all came close to making it three as the hosts put on a show for the fans.
However, it was Adriano who got the third, just before half time, coming in from the right to meet a perfectly weighted Cesc pass and hammer the ball home to round off maybe the most spectacular 45 minutes of the season so far.
There was no relaxing from Tito’s team after the break, despite their comfortable lead and opponents who were clearly letting their heads drop and they continued to pressure the Basques and create chances with some brilliant individual touches and perfect team work. Cesc got the fourth after a Laudrup-esque through ball from Iniesta and then the visitors had a couple of chances themselves from Llorente and Herrera, before Ibai beat the offside trap and rounded Valdes to make it 4-1.).
Barça came back fast from the goal and Messi scored his second to put himself just one behind Müller’s record with a superbly taken goal with his right foot after bamboozling his marker with his left. Vilanova took the opportunity to ring the changes in the last few minutes, taking off Iniesta, Busquets and Adriano, but there were still chances with Messi coming really close to a hat trick before the ref blew for the end of a wonderful show from this record breaking team.