Bilbao, Spain, Aug. 21 (EFE). – Athletic Club and FC Barcelona drew 1-1 here on Saturday, splitting the points after a game in which both sides showed their form midway through the season, just two weeks into the 2021-LaLiga campaign. 2022.
After 18 months of games played behind closed doors due to Covid-19, the approximately 11,000 spectators who filled the stands at Bilbao’s San Mames stadium were treated to entertaining football.
Even without Lionel Messi, the Blaugrana dominated possession, but the hosts defeated them 16-9.
The first half saw many opportunities, but the teams went into the dressing rooms 0-0.
Athletic broke the deadlock in the 50th minute when Iñigo Martinez defeated Neto with a perfect header from Iker Muniain’s corner.
The home side used their high pressure to keep Barca at bay until Frenkie de Jong hit the crossbar in the 74th minute, a minute before Memphis Depay leveled the visitors.
The award of the equalizer did nothing for Athletic’s morale and Depay’s inability to capitalize on a chance in the 86th minute gave them a boost towards stoppage time.
And while it did get him a red card, Eric Garcia’s decision to take down Nico Williams in the penalty area in the 93rd minute may well have saved the point for Barcelona.
The result puts Barca level on points with Mallorca and Valencia on 4, but the Catalans are first thanks to goal difference.
Athletic are ninth with 2 points. EFE ibn/dr