Barça remains strong with a miracle in San Mamés
Xavi’s men save (0-1) the final siege of Athletic Club and maintain the nine points before the Clásico
MADRID, March 12 (EUROPA PRESS) –
FC Barcelona pulled off a miraculous victory (0-1) this Sunday against Athletic Club on matchday 25 of LaLiga Santander held in San Mamés, graceful from the local siege and a goal disallowed by Iñaki Williams in the 87th minute to maintain the income of nine points over Real Madrid in the lead, before the Clásico in one week.
Xavi Hernández’s men responded to the victory of the whites the day before against Espanyol so as not to see their good cushion diminish in search of the reconquest of the League four years later. Raphinha’s goal just before the break was the only one that went up on the scoreboard, but the Basques had a handful of chances that Ter Stegen and the VAR disrupted to local frustration.
Barça entrusted itself once again to knowing how to suffer, but saving the 0-1 against a San Mamés with record attendance and some goal-hungry ‘lions’ was a bigger bet. Ter Stegen (19 clean sheets this season) made three impossible saves almost in a row, Iñaki’s goal did not go up due to a hand from Muniain that detected the VAR and, despite the disappointment, Athletic tried again but Koundé and Marcos Alonso took the goal goal under sticks
As Xavi warned after the last win against Valencia, Barça had a good week to recover their strength. The demand of San Mamés did not miss the appointment, but Barça had the legs to return the intensity, the pressure and the marking almost to the man who put Athletic Club into practice.
Besides, the technician culé recovered to Lewandowski and Gavi, although the Polish forward went back to be lacking of aim like lately. Barça found spaces, so that Ferran finished off enough only after two minutes and the ‘9’ forgave a one-on-one, but the ‘Lions’ bit a lot and appeared dangerously.
Nico and Iñaki Williams gave work to the rival defense, with a direct game that left a start of give and take. The pressure up front was better at home but Lewandowski at the start of the season would have scored the one in minute 17. Barça also did their best to finish plays and not give away balls.
The good one for Athletic to take the lead was a shot off Raúl García’s crossbar from a corner kick, while Xavi’s team was looking for some possession to arrive calmly at half-time. In the last one, the local team was neglected and only one Raphinha appeared, which had multiplied during the first half to make it 0-1.
A MIRACULOUS 0-1
At the restart, while San Mamés warmed up again, Barça was able to conclude, especially due to the good work of Balde. The Spanish international left another gift to Lewandowski that the former Bayern player did not take advantage of and, the last 20 minutes, they were rojiblancos. Berenguer started the show off of Ter Stegen, who also stopped Muniain flying and another one from point blank range.
Coming out unscathed seemed like a miracle and, playing in the opposite field, Barça suffered a good counterattack that Iñaki culminated in 1-1. However, the overflowing local joy was interrupted by the hand on the ear of a Gil Manzano who went to see a hand on the monitor: Muniain jumping to cut the ball that started the counter and the ball on his arm. Valverde’s men still tried despite the blow.
In the same play, Yuri and Guruzeta saw how the culé defense scored twice almost on the line. With a shot on goal and a miracle at San Mamés, Barça reinforces its leadership and confidence before hosting Real Madrid next Sunday. Meanwhile, Athletic, in its particular jinx with the goal, misses a favorable day to bring the European positions closer.
–RESULT: ATHLETIC CLUB, 0 – FC BARCELONA, 1. (0-1, at halftime).
ATHLETIC CLUB: Agirrezabala; De Marcos (Ander Capa, min.84), Vivian, Iñigo, Balenziaga (Yuri, min.70); Dani García, Vesga (Oier Zarraga, min.64); Nico, Raúl García (Muniain, min.64), Berenguer (Guruzeta, min.84) and Iñaki Williams.
FC BARCELONA: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto (Ansu Fati, min.84), Koundé, Christensen, Balde; Busquets, De Jong, Gavi (Alarcón, min.95); Raphinha (Marcos Alonso, min.86), Lewandowski and Ferran (Kessie, min.68).
0 – 1, min.45+1, Raphinha.
–REFEREE: Gil Manzano (C. Extremadura). He admonished Iñaki Williams (min.30) and Zarraga (min.87) by Athletic. And Sergi Roberto (min.76) at Barça.
–STADIUM: San Mamés, 49,741 spectators.