Barcelona are up to third place in the La Liga table and that makes their world look a little better. Messi and Pedri were brilliant here this evening, but Griezmann and Dembele also warrant a mention for their performance. 3-2 doesn't quite reflect the way Barcelona dominated this match, actually. They were good!
- 2nd Half
- Dani Garcia70'
- VesgaDani Garcia66'
- De MarcosBerenguer65'
- 1st Half
Athletic Club - FC Barcelona
Follow the Liga live Football match between Athletic Club and FC Barcelona with Eurosport. The match starts at 20:00 on 6 January 2021.
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FULL TIME: Athletic Club 2-3 Barcelona
There will be three minutes of stoppage time played at the end of the match. Already through two.
- GoalIker MuniainAthletic Club
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Athletic Club 2 (90 mins - Iker Muniain) Barcelona 3. A late goal and a lifeline for Athletic Club! It was Messi who gave the ball away inside his own half and he was made to pay, with Muniain sweeping home a nice finish from just inside the Barcelona box. Surely it's too late? Surely?!
Messi was in behind! The pass was played in behind for the Barcelona number 10, he attempted to find Braithwaite at the near post with a low close, but Simon made the save.
One of the most important things for Dest is that Messi appears to trust him. While the Argentine normally looks to the left and Alba when playing forward, he has been looking more often to the right.
On the other side of the Barcelona defence, Dest has settled in quickly at the Camp Nou after his summer move from Ajax. The American international is now their first choice right back. Also strong tonight.
Alba has been in good form of late. It took the experienced left back some time to come to the boil this season, injuries have been something of a problem, but he still gives Barca an attacking outlet. He's been good again tonight.
- OffRaúl GarcíaAthletic Club
- OnJon MorcilloAthletic Club
Morcillo comes on for Athletic Club but there is a sense this game is already gone for them.
- OffOusmane DembéléFC Barcelona
- OnMartin BraithwaiteFC Barcelona
And a second change for Barca sees Braithwaite introduced off the bench.
- OffSergiño DestFC Barcelona
- OnÓscar MinguezaFC Barcelona
Here's Koeman's first change of the night and Mingueza comes on.
Messi’s future will be tied to what happens in the Barcelona presidential election. This feels like a pivotal moment in the club’s history and will decide what direction they take over the next few years.
Over the summer, it appeared Manchester City were leading the pursuit to sign Messi, but Paris Saint-Germain have now entered the picture to lure the Argentine to the Parc des Princes this summer.
Of course, there is still a lot of speculation about Messi’s future at Barcelona. The 33-year-old is free to talk to other clubs with his contract at the Camp Nou set to expire at the end of the season.
PICTURE: Messi and Pedri have been the star men
- Yellow cardDani GarciaAthletic Club
Dani Garcia is shown a yellow card as time runs out for Athletic Club here.
Off the post! Just inches away from a Messi hat trick. Pedri with wonderful control, Griezmann leaves the ball for his teammate and Messi curls a strike off the woodwork. Brilliant play!
One of the most notable things about Pedri’s emergence this season is the relationship he has built with Messi. The Argentine is a tough man to please, but he clearly enjoys playing with Pedri.
Pedri turned in another impressive display against Huesca. The teenager has been the biggest success story of this season for Barcelona. What a talent he is. He’s already a key figure!
- OffMikel VesgaAthletic Club
- OnDani GarciaAthletic Club
And a second change for Athletic Club. Dani Garcia is on off the bench.
- OffOscar De MarcosAthletic Club
- OnÁlex BerenguerAthletic Club
A change for the home side. It's Berenguer who comes on for the final 25 minutes.
It's been a while since we saw one of those goals from Barcelona. Messi has found a rich vein of form of late. The Catalans mustn't be counted out of the title race just yet.
- Yellow cardClément LengletFC Barcelona
It should be noted that Lenglet was shown a yellow card before the third Barca goal.
- GoalLionel MessiFC Barcelona
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Athletic Club 1 Barcelona 3 (62 mins - Lionel Messi). Brilliant from the little genius! Messi was fed the pass inside the box by Griezmann, but he still had a lot of work to do. There was nothing Simon could do to stop the shot from the Argentine crashing his strike in off the underside of the bar.
This feels like a critical part of Barcelona’s season. If they can come through January unscathed, they could still salvage their season. A few defeats could mean the end for Koeman, though.
After this, Barcelona face Granada and then Real Sociedad in the semi finals of the Spanish Super Cup. That will be a difficult game, with Real Madrid taking on Athletic Club in the other semi final.
PICTURE: Messi in form
Off the woodwork! That would have been a trademark goal from Messi, who curled a left-footed strike towards goal from the edge of the box, but it hits the outside of the post. Simon was beaten!
This is an opportunity for Barcelona to climb up to third in the table. They would still be some way off the pace being set by Atletico Madrid, but the standings would start to look a bit better then.
Barcelona don’t have the best record against Athletic Club at San Mames. Last season saw Valverde’s men suffer defeat on the opening day of the campaign. Aduriz scored in stoppage time.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO... NO! Just for a moment it seems Messi has scored a third for Barcelona, but the flag is raised after the Argentine has tucked away a tidy finish.
Inches wide! Very close to being an equaliser for Athletic Club, but Williams could only send his shot on the stretch into the side netting after a low cross from the left wing. Did they clip the post as well?
As already mentioned, Athletic Club have some real quality. Simon, for instance, looks set to be Spain’s number one goalkeeper ahead of De Gea for this summer’s European Championships. He’s looked shaky tonight, though!
PICTURE: Messi scored Barca's second
For a while, it seemed that Koeman favoured a centre back pairing of Araujo and Mingueza, but Lenglet has returned to the starting lineup recently after a difficult run of a few error-prone games.
Injuries to so many defenders, including Pique, have forced Koeman to look to different options. This has seen Araujo and Mingueza play a lot of matches for Barcelona recently at the heart of the defence.
Barcelona responded well to going behind early on. In fact, if it wasn't for that early goal this would have been their best performance of the season so far. Very dangerous, on the whole.
- 2nd Half
The second half is under way at San Mames! Barcelona have a 2-1 lead over Athletic Club!
HALF TIME: Athletic Club 1-2 Barcelona. Williams gave Marcelino's side an early lead, but Barcelona have responded well and deserve to be ahead at the half time interval. Impressive.
Athletic Club are passing the ball around their defence as Barcelona stand off them. It very much feels like the home side are just trying to get to half time so they can regroup.
There will be two minutes of stoppage time played at the end of the first half.
Just past the post! Messi was in behind, the flag was down, but the Barcelona could only roll a timid finish past the post. The Catalans won't want to hear the half time whistle. On top!
Barcelona suffered a shaky start to this match, falling behind after just three minutes, but they have played well since then. Koeman will be pleased with the response from his players.
PICTURE: Pedri scored the equaliser
Simon save! This time the Athletic Club goalkeeper makes a flying save to prevent Griezmann from finding the back of the net with a powerful strike from just inside the box!
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Athletic Club 1 Barcelona 2 (38 mins - Lionel Messi). The Catalans have turned this game around and it's Messi who has found the back of the net! The Argentine was set up for the finish by Pedri, but questions will be asked of Simon who looked to be out of position. And he slipped as well!
Dangerous cross from the right! Capa burst down the right side and got the low cross into the middle, but once again there was nobody in the penalty area to convert the chance.
Simon makes the save! Dembele created the shooting opportunity on the edge of the opposition box, but the Athletic Club goalkeeper was behind the strike from the Frenchman and makes the save.
Pique is still sidelined for Barcelona. The Catalans have missed the presence of their spiritual leader at the back. They have been defensively vulnerable all the way through the season.
- OffYuri BerchicheAthletic Club
- OnMikel BalenziagaAthletic Club
Here's the expected change and it's Balenziaga who comes on for the injured Berchiche.
Berchiche injury! It looks like Marcelino will be forced into a first half change. Berchiche looks to have picked up a hamstring injury and indeed Athletic Club will have to change their left back.
- Yellow cardMikel VesgaAthletic Club
Vesga becomes the first player to enter the referee's book for hacking down Dembele.
One of the biggest problems for Barcelona this season has been individual errors, much to the annoyance of Koeman. The Dutchman has spoken about the need to iron them out more than once.
One player who isn’t involved for Barcelona this evening is Carles Alena. The midfielder was loaned out to Getafe for the second half of the season earlier today as he attempts to find some game time.
Cross into the middle! That was a dangerous situation for Barcelona as Berchiche zipped a low pass into the box. But there was nobody in a red and white shirt free to convert it!
The problem against Huesca was that Barcelona ran out of steam. They ended up hanging on for the final 10 minutes. They got over the line, but they can’t make the same mistake against Athletic Club.
Koeman was surely unhappy with the number of scoring opportunities Barcelona passed up against Huesca. They really should have been out of sight by the time the half time whistle blew.
Barcelona came into this game on the back of a 1-0 win over Huesca. The draw at home to Eibar in the last game of 2020 was disappointing, but the Catalans have been building some momentum, gradually.
Williams has so much potential. Will Marcelino be the manager to bring that out of him? His career has stagnated somewhat since he burst on to the scene as a youngster years ago.
This has been a very entertaining first 20 minutes at San Mames. Both sides have created scoring opportunities. Marcelino wants his team to go toe-to-toe with Barcelona.
De Jong scored what proved to be the winner for Barcelona in their game against Huesca at the weekend. The Dutchman has been playing in a slightly more advanced role in recent weeks.
De Jong has been very effective in the last few games for Barcelona as more of an attacking force. That's part of his game that has been under-utilised since he arrived in La Liga.
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Athletic Club 1 Barcelona 1 (14 mins - Pedri). Barcelona have an equaliser! They are back on level terms! Simon didn't know whether to come off his line or stay back, de Jong got on the end of a deep cross to the byline and squared a lofted pass for Pedri to head home into the empty net!
Williams is one of the players Marcelino is surely looking forward to working with. The Spanish international has all the talent in the world, but consistency, or a lack thereof, has been a problem. But what a start he’s made!
There is certainly a lot of talent for Marcelino to work with at Athletic Club. This is a big club with a big fanbase and big ambitions. And in Marcelino they might just have the right manager to take them forward.
This success put Marcelino in line for a number of top jobs across Europe. He was mentioned as a potential candidate for both Arsenal and Everton, but is now at San Mames as Athletic Club boss.
Marcelino was hailed for the impressive job he did during his time at Valencia. Indeed, he took the club into the top four, and the Champions League, and won the Copa del Rey in his final season.
Simon denies Dest! A golden opportunity for Barcelona to restore parity with Messi setting up Dest for the shot inside the area, but the American international has his effort saved!
Into the side netting! Another rapid counter attack from Athletic Club, but this time Berchiche could only shoot into the side netting. That was another good chance for the hosts.
It was quite remarkable just how open Barcelona were there. Garcia had all the time in the world to pick the pass in behind for Williams. Koeman has to do something about that.
Well, well, well. What a start for Marcelino's team. Athletic Club found it so easy to get in behind Barcelona there. Williams has pace to burn and he started a real fire there! Amazing.
- GoalIñaki WilliamsAthletic Club
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Athletic Club 1 (3 mins - Inaki Williams) Barcelona 0. What a start for the Marcelino era as Athletic Club manager! Garcia played the pass in behind and Williams was away! Barcelona couldn't catch him and Williams cut inside to guide a low finish underneath Ter Stegen! Good composure!
As mentioned in the build up, this is Marcelino’s first game in charge of Athletic Club. He has spent 18 months out of the game after his shock sacking as Valencia manager just days before the start of the 2019/20 season.
- 1st Half
The match is under way! It's Athletic Club against Barcelona in this La Liga fixture at San Mames!
Okay, here we go. We are about to get under way at San Mames. Kick off is just moments away.
Barcelona have just 10 points from their last 21 in the league. They really need to start winning and building some momentum.
This has the potential to be a real cracker. Athletic Club are a team with a lot of genuine quality.
Griezmann is back in the Barcelona team this evening. It's been a difficult season for the French forward, but this is a chance for him to prove why he deserves his place in the side.
San Mames hasn’t always been a happy hunting ground for Barcelona. This is one of the toughest away venues in La Liga to visit when there are fans. Of course, the stands are empty tonight.
I'm Graham Ruthven and you can catch me ahead of the match to let me know your thoughts. Do you fancy Athletic Club to take all three points here? What do you make of the Barca XI? Tweet me - @grahamruthven!
Marcelino will take charge of his first game as Athletic Club head coach this evening following the sacking of Garitano. What sort of performance will he get from his new players? Will there be a bounce?
TEAM NEWS: Athletic Club - Simon, Capa, Nunez, Martinez, Yuri, De Marcos, Vencedor, Vesga, Muniain, García, Williams. /// Barcelona - Ter Stegen, Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba, Busquets, De Jong, Pedri, Messi, Dembele, Griezmann.
ICYMI - here is today's Euro Papers. There's some chat about a Man Utd move for a Portuguese youngster.
Good evening and welcome to Eurosport’s LIVE coverage of the Spanish Liga fixture between Athletic Club and Barcelona. We’ll bring you all the action as it happens at San Mames. Kick off is at 20:00 GMT.