FC Barcelona is off to the best start ever by a club in the Spanish league after their 5-1 crushing victory against Athletic Bilbao. Pique opened the scoring in the 21st minute before Messi grabbed the second goal four minutes. Adriano then grabbed the third goal in stoppage time before the half time whistle. Cesc then grabbed the club’s fourth goal right before the hour mark. Bilbao did manage to grab a goal in the 65th minute after Ibai scored but Messi responded five minutes later to score his 21st league leading goal. With this victory, Barça have 13 wins and 1 draw, which is the best ever start in Spanish league history after 14 matches. With Real Madrid defeating their cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid today, Barça now have a six point lead atop of the standings. Next up for Barça is the ultimate match of their UEFA Champions League group stage match when they host Benfica on Wednesday.
FC Barcelona continued its impressive league start to the 2012-2013 season after defeating Athletic Bilbao 5-1. With the Copa del Rey victory taking place on Wednesday, Tito decided to shuffle his lineup again and rest some players. Valdés was back in goal while the back four consisted of Adriano, Mascherano, Piqué, and Jordi Alba. The midfield consisted of Busquets, Xavi, and Iniesta supporting the front three of Pedro, Cesc and Messi.
Barça controlled the match from the get go but would not break the deadlock until the 21st minute. They were awarded a corner kick which somehow found its way to Pique who managed to score with a right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner, much to the delight of the over 63,000 fans in attendance today. This was Pique’s first goal of the season and he picked a good time to score it.
Four minutes later, Barça’s lead would double when the familiar number 10 continued his unbelievable scoring run. The goal came from a superb Xavi through ball and Messi timed his run perfectly before chipping it over the keeper and encountering but the Bilbao defender's attempt to clear it failed. That was Messi’s 20th league goal and he was inching closer to Muller’s record.
Busquets was booked in the 26th minute and Barça had a few more chances to add to their lead through Iniesta and Cesc but could not. Messi even struck the bar. However, Barça did manage to grab a third before the half time whistle when Adriano scored in stoppage time. Messi passed the ball to Cesc and Cesc provided the well placed through ball inside the box for Adriano to chase it down before he blasted it high into the goal. Adriano is enjoying a fine week after scoring on Wednesday in the Copa game and this was his 4th league goal and 5th goal in all competitions.
Barça continued to pummel the hapless Athletic when they scored a fourth goal in the 57th minute. Cesc went from goal provider to scorer as he grabbed the fourth following Busquets’s great sliding tackle to win the ball back to Iniesta who then set up Cesc inside the box. The midfielder did not waste this scoring chance with a right footed shot from the center of the box to the bottom right corner of Athletic’s goal. This was his fifth league goal and he now has 10 goals in all competitions.
Athletic would somehow grab a goal in the 65th minute from a long ball from Iturraspe and Ibai Gomez somehow managed to beat the offside trap before scoring it past Valdes to make it 4-1. Nevertheless, Barça would grab another goal five minutes later for another “Manita”. Messi once again would continue his streak of scoring braces after scoring another mesmerizing goal. Pedro and Alba worked hard in not losing the ball and the ball magically fell to Messi who still comes up with the breath taking moments as he avoided one defender before unleashing a right footed shot from in front of the goal to the top right corner. That was Messi’s 21st league goal and he now has 28 goals in all competitions and is now just one goal shy of tying Muller’s mark of scoring 85 goals in one calendar year.
With the game already out of reach, Vilanova used all three substitutions in the 73rd and 75th when Adriano came off for Montoya and Iniesta came off for Thiago and then Busquets coming off for Song. Two minutes of stoppage time were awarded but neither side would make the most of it.
With this victory, Barça have 13 wins and 1 draw, which is the best ever start in Spanish league history after 14 matches. With Real Madrid defeating their cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid today, Barça now have a six point lead atop of the standings. Next up for Barça is the ultimate match of their UEFA Champions League group stage match when they host Benfica on Wednesday.
Match Info (From Sport):
FC Barcelona: Valdés, Adriano (Montoya, 72'), Mascherano, Piqué, Jordi Alba, Busquets (Song, 75'), Xavi, Iniesta (Thiago, 73'), Pedro, Cesc & Messi.
Athletic Club: Iraizoz; Ramalho (Mikel San José, 72'), Ekiza, Amorebieta, Aurtenetxe; Iturraspe, De Marcos, Herrera; Susaeta (Toquero, 64'), Aduriz (Llorente, 46') & Ibai.
Goals: 1-0, Piqué (Min. 22); 2-0, Messi (Min. 24); 3-0, Adriano (Min. 45+1); 4-0, Cesc (Min 56); 4-1, Ibai (Min. 66); 5-1, Messi (Min. 69).
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz
Bookings: Busquets (min. 26); De Marcos (min. 33), Iturraspe (min. 55) & Andre Herrera (min. 89).