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89 years is a long time. Since the creation of the league, both Barça and Athletic have never been relegated and, consequently, year after year, the history of the competition has set new precedents between the two teams. Some have stood out, others have gone unnoticed, and few have become unique and unusual.
Without a doubt, the match that will be played this Tuesday (10.00pm CEST) will be remembered. The 178th meeting in regular competition will be played at an empty Camp Nou, with no supporters because of the coronavirus crisis.
It will be an odd atmosphere for Barça and the red-and-whites, and it has led us to review other unique matches, of which four previous Barça-Athletic games stand out as being even more unusual than this Tuesday's.
1- An incredible thrashing
On February 8, 1931, Athletic Club beat Barça 12-1, the worst league result in the club's history. It remains a mystery why the blaugranes were so badly beaten, given that they had a squad of proven quality with players such as Zabalo, Martí, Castillo, Piera, Sastre, Goiburu, Arnau and Parera.
2- A bad injury
“Fracture of the peroneal on the left ankle, with deviation. Tearing of the internal lateral ligament.” That was Diego Armando Maradona's medical statement after receiving an awful tackle from Goikoetxea. It was in the 14th minute of the Barça-Athletic league game on match day four of the 1983/84 season.
Barça and Athletic before a LaLiga game in 1983/84 season.
That September 24 was the day of Barcelona's main festival, but La Mercè that year was less festive for many Barcelona fans.
3- A historic result thanks to a four goals from Hristo Stoichkov
In the biggest Barça win at La Catedral, the Bulgarian striker was on fire. It was Sunday, March 10, 1991, when Barça defeated Athletic at San Mamés by 0-6. The locals even ended up applauding Barça.
With seven minutes left, Stoichkov had already scored two goals, whilst the third should be in the manual for the perfect counterattack: Zubizarreta sent the ball long to Goikoetxea, who avoided the offside and found Stoichkov. The Bulgarian went off like a bullet, leaving Andrinúa and Lakabeg in his slipstream on the way to beating goalkeeper Iru with a shot to the right side of the goal. It was a strike that the Catalans will never forget, and he rounded off his afternoon with the fourth at the end of the match.
4- In Barcelona, Athletic propaganda posters
In 1916, two friendly matches between the Catalans and the Basques generated a lot of anticipation in Barcelona. The reason: Rafael Moreno Aranzadi, the Athletic striker who today gives his name to the top scorer in the league, Pichichi.
The historic event took off so much that propaganda posters were distributed in shops, streets and trams in Barcelona. In addition, an electrical advertisement was installed in Canaletes and large photographs of Athletic Club were displayed in the windows of the main shops in the city.
While this game between Barça and Los Leones hasn't entered the league records, it is, nevertheless, one of the first unusual matches between these two teams. This Tuesday 23 (10.00PM CEST), the Camp Nou will witness an unprecedented Barça-Athletic fixture behind closed doors.
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