Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
Sport | By

Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Barcelona: Champions six points clear after draw

Athletic Bilbao 0-0 Barcelona: Champions six points clear after draw

And Barcelona handler Ernesto Valverde has now provided an answer dismissing the suggestions that Lionel Messi was not fit enough to play on Sunday, February 10. "It was a great stop".

But Real's victory at the Wanda Metropolitano was their fifth on the bounce and just as they have gained momentum, Barca appear to be losing theirs, at a crucial juncture, with more stern tests to come.

There is a free midweek this week for the Blaugrana and then a home league fixture against Real Valladolid, but after that they have to travel to Sevilla and then to Real Madrid in the league. They then face two Clasicos in four days, one in the Copa del Rey, and both at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"We had the clearer chances, we had more shots and more corners and if anyone came closer to winning the game it was us", said Athletic coach Gaizka Garitano, whose side moved up to 13th in the standings.

"It's a long season and we'll wait until the end to make a judgement".

Injuries have not helped either.

Ousmane Dembele made his recovery from an ankle problem as a 75th-minute substitute, taking the place of Coutinho, whose problems in a Barcelona shirt continued.

The visitors eased themselves into the game as Messi and Suarez, prompted by Philippe Coutinho, started to make their presence felt, although Athletic were handed the 11th-minute opportunity when Yuri Berchiche intercepted Arturo Vidal's loose pass and raced forward before firing just wide. Still, they twice should have scored, with Messi and Suarez both guilty of missing.

Lionel Messi had Barca's best chance as his lob from outside the box hit the top of the crossbar.

The Argentina worldwide was superb in the encounter against Bilbao, but his failure to score a goal makes many think probably he is not 100 percent fit. Raul Garcia's finish was blocked and Mikel San Jose's effort whistled inches outside of the post.

The visitors increased their intensity and dominated in the early exchanges of the second stand but they could not find a way through. Instead, Ter Stegen shot out his right hand, somehow denying the striker from eight yards.

Athletic Bilbao's Oscar de Marcos is shown a yellow card by referee Carlos del Cerro.

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