A full San Mamés greeted the players for the opening game of the 2019/20 La Liga season. Wearing their new, all yellow away kit, Barça were quickly into their stride, working the ball around the pitch with ease.
Marc-André ter Stegen pulled off a magnificent save to keep the scores level after a pure strike from Iñaki Williams on six minutes, and he denied the forward again before the quarter hour.
Much of the play centred around a packed midfield, where Frenkie De Jong looked comfortable on his league debut for the Blaugrana.
Just after the half hour, a poor back pass from the hosts found an injured Luis Suárez in acres of space, but his shot could only find the upright. Shortly after, Ter Stegen was on hand again to deny Raúl García.
On 37, Suárez had to leave the field, replaced by Rafinha who also found the woodwork just a few minutes later, Unai Simón palming the Brazilian’s fierce shot onto the bar.
Carles Aleñá was replaced by Ivan Rakitic at the start of the second half as Ernesto Valverde looked to change things around, and the Croatian saw his glancing header nestle on the top of the net just a few minutes after his introduction.
After a 20 minute period with both sides cancelling each other out and Rafinha finding the post again after a deflection, Rakitic went close with a trademark strike, but his shot went just over.
With the game heading for a goalless draw, Athletic brought on Aritz Aduriz, and with the veteran striker’s first touch, he volleyed into the net to win the game for the hosts.