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Jennifer Hermoso had a great chance to score in the second half / FCB ARCHIVE

The Barça women’s team lost away to Athletic Bilbao, just their third defeat of the season, when Erika scored for the Basques deep into injury time. But the Catalans remain eight points clear of Atlético Madrid at the top of the table, and could win the title next week if they beat Sevilla at home and Atlético fail to do likewise against Espanyol.

Tight half

Barça went all at it from the start, although the first real chance fell to home striker Erika. In the first half hour, the Catalans came closest when Virginia hit a shot just wide and when Gemma Gili finished off a wonderful combination move by hitting the ball narrowly over the bar. The more the half progressed, the more comfortable the Barça ladies looked on the ball, but the interval arrived with no score for either side.

Late agony

The second half once again saw both sides squandering all their opportunities. Most of them fell to Athletic, but the Barça defence held strong, and Corredora very nearly put the visitors ahead, but goalkeeper Ainhoa did well.

Although Erika had a goal disallowed for offside after 75 minutes, it was Barça who finalloy started looking the more dangerous of the two sides as the game drew to a close. Chances went begging for both Jennifer and Willy before the ninety minutes were up and the game looked destined to be a 0-0 draw.

Then disaster struck for the Barça women. Five minutes into injury time, following a manic period in  their own area, with rebounds all over the place and one shot coming off the post, Ráfols produced a tremendous save to deny Nekane before Erika pounced on the loose ball to claim the three points for the ‘Lionesses’. It was a frustrating end for Barça, but the Superliga title is nevertheless still firmly within their sights.

MATCH STATS

Athletic Club, 1

FC Barcelona, 0

Athletic Club: Ainhoa, Irene, Lizaso (Ainhoa À, min 85), Alazne (Corres, min 73), Nekane, Orueta (Eunate, min 42), Iraia, Ibarra, Erika, Gimbert, Garazi Murua

FC Barcelona: Ràfols, Leire, Torrejón, Ruth, Melanie (Unzué, min 69), Virginia, Corredera, Míriam, Gemma, Sonia (Willy, min 69), J. Hermoso (Baudet, min 86)

Referee: Pardo Saavedra

Goal: 1-0: Erika, min 95

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