Barcelona drop two points at San Mames. They looked weary this evening, which will be a concern for Valverde given the run of fixtures they have coming up. Athletic Club might well have claimed all three points! They were probably the better team on the whole. Ter Stegen was excellent, as was Williams.
- 2nd Half
- De Marcos90'
- De Marcos68'
- BeñatSan José56'
- Dani Garcia52'
Athletic Club - FC Barcelona
Liga - 11 February 2019
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- End of 2nd Half
FULL TIME: Athletic Club 0-0 Barcelona
Shot from Dembele! The Barcelona winger switched the ball on to his left foot, but his shot was tame and straight at Herrerin, who makes the simple save. Is there one last chance?
- Red cardOscar De MarcosAthletic Club
SENT OFF! Confusion at San Mames. Yeray was shown a yellow card. Or was he? Well, De Marcos is now walking off the pitch after being booked for a second time. Athletic down to 10.
Yeray gets the yellow card for talking back to the referee after the award of a freekick to Barcelona.
- OffIñaki WilliamsAthletic Club
- OnKenan KodroAthletic Club
Williams gets a standing ovation from the home fans. He has been excellent this evening. All that was missing was a goal.
Four minutes of stoppage time to be played at the end of the match.
- OffClément LengletFC Barcelona
- OnThomas VermaelenFC Barcelona
Indeed, there is the change. Vermaelen comes on. Lenglet must be injured after that clash.
Ter Stegen saves from Williams... again! We have been here before. This was a more straightforward stop from the Barcelona keeper, but nonetheless, he keeps the score level.
Might Valverde be about to make one last change? It looks like Vermaelen is getting ready on the bench. That would be a strange change, but that's the way it looks on the touchline.
Muniain has made a real difference for Athletic Club since coming off the bench. He is doing a great job of stretching the pitch and opening up space on the counter attack.
What. A. Save! Incredible. Williams had to score. Muniain cut back the pass, Williams gathered it in his stride, but Ter Stegen makes the close range save to keep the scoreline level!
Lenglet is down! There is a break in play as the Barcelona centre back is seen to by the medical team. He took an elbow to the head, but it looks like Lenglet will be fine to continue.
Williams heads wide! Very close to an opener, and potentially a winner, for Athletic Club! Williams found himself on the end of the freekick delivery, but Pique did enough to put him off.
- Yellow cardSergio BusquetsFC Barcelona
Busquets takes the yellow card after bringing down Williams. Barcelona are terrified of him!
I actually forgot that Coutinho was on the pitch before he was subbed off. The former Liverpool playmaker is really struggling to find form this season. He was so passive tonight.
Of course, Dembele has been out with an injury in recent weeks. Is he ready to play? The French winger has the ability to make a difference, but how close to fully fit is he? We'll find out.
- OffPhilippe CoutinhoFC Barcelona
- OnOusmane DembéléFC Barcelona
An interesting change from Valverde. Coutinho comes off and he is replaced by Dembele.
Suarez curls wide! The Barcelona striker controls a Messi pass 25 yards out and turns. He tries the outside-of-the-boot finish, but sticks his effort wide of the Athletic Club goal. Nice idea.
17 minutes left on the clock and we are still waiting on the first goal of the night. Barcelona have controlled things in this second half, but Athletic coming back into it.
- Yellow cardClément LengletFC Barcelona
Lenglet accepts the yellow card. Williams was away from the Barca centre back, so he took him down.
There's a lot of love inside San Mames for Muniain. There was a time when he looked like he would become a superstar, a Basque Messi. He never quite reached those heights, though.
That was amusing. Without looking, Suarez spread the play out to the left side. That's usually where Alba is getting on his bike. But of course, Alba isn't playing for Barca tonight.
- Yellow cardOscar De MarcosAthletic Club
De Marcos can have no complaints about that yellow card. It was a cynical pull back.
It's certainly true that Barcelona are on top and are controlling things here, but they aren't exactly created much in the way of scoring opportunities. Toothless, so far. Hmmm...
Shot from San Jose! It was a counter attack from the home side, with Yuri playing the ball along the edge of the box for San Jose, but he sticks his effort wide of Ter Stegen's goal.
Both those changes should see a change of tact from the two teams. Barcelona won't to control things in the middle, while Athletic Club want to stretch the pitch on the counter attack.
- OffArturo VidalFC Barcelona
- OnCarles AleñaFC Barcelona
Barcelona make their first change of the night and it's Vidal who comes off for Alena.
- OffMarkel SusaetaAthletic Club
- OnIker MuniainAthletic Club
Right on cue, on comes Muniain, but it's Susaeta who comes off for the little trickster.
Garcia was effective in the first half, but the former Atletico Madrid forward has been les effective since the restart. Could we see Muniain coming off the bench in the near future?
Athletic Club are now struggling to move the ball up the field, which isn't a problem they had in the first half. This is a lot better from Barcelona. They are on top at the moment.
- OffBeñatAthletic Club
- OnMikel San JoséAthletic Club
A change for Athletic Club and San Jose comes on for Benat. He will slot into midfield.
Alena is going through an intense warm up down on the touchline. Could Valverde be about to throw on the talented youngster? Is he the sort of player Barcelona need right now?
It seems that Barcelona have more control of the game in this second half than they did at any point of the opening 45 minutes. The Liga leaders are starting to turn the screw.
Barcelona are finding more space to break into in this second half. Messi had options left and right as he broke forward, but in the end the move from the Catalans breaks down.
Messi freekick... over! We've all seen the Barcelona number 10 score freekicks from this range before, but this time he sends his set piece over the bar. Herrerin had it covered anyway.
- Yellow cardDani GarciaAthletic Club
Garcia is shown the first yellow card of the match for tripping Messi as he burst towards goal.
Barcelona have started this second half at a higher pace than they played at any stage of the first half. Valverde clearly wants his team to up the tempo and intensity of their game.
This is a picture of Ter Stegen's save from Susaeta in the first half.
Barcelona were poor in the first half. They had chances to make the breakthrough, but their passing has been loose at times. Vidal, in particular, has been extremely slack with the ball.
- 2nd Half
The second half is under way at San Mames! It's still goalless between Athletic Club and Barcelona.
What did you make of the first half at San Mames? Have Athletic Club been the better side? Will they rue their missed opportunities? Does Valverde need to change things? Tweet me!
- End of 1st Half
HALF TIME: Athletic Club 0-0 Barcelona. Both mangers have some thinking to do at the break, especially Valverde. The Catalans have been below par so far. Athletic have had chances.
Well defended by Martinez. Barcelona had the ball on the edge of the opposition box, Coutinho threaded the pass through for Suarez, but the Athletic centre back mopped it up.
Athletic Club have had the edge in this first half. Barcelona have been poor and Messi is nowhere near fully fit. This is a chance for the Basque side to claim a famous victory.
Garcia is adamant that Athletic Club should have had a corner kick. He has a case. It did seem that the shot from the forward picked up a deflection as he put his shot wide of the post.
That's a big miss! That should be an opener for Athletic Club. Garcia was presented with a golden opportunity at the back post, but he puts his low shot wide of the target. Should have done better.
Still 0-0 in Bilbao with 39 minutes played. It has been an interesting match, there have been chances for both teams, but the game has fallen into something of a lull in the last 10 minutes.
Messi shot on target! The Barcelona number 10 gets the effort on target, but Herrerin deals with the awkward strike at his near post. He fumbles it behind for a corner kick to the Catalans.
Valverde's side have played a lot of football since the winter break and that might be starting to show here. Barcelona haven't had much of an edge to their play in this first half.
Barcelona need to be careful here. They are the frontrunners at the top of La Liga. They have a commanding lead. But Real Madrid are resurgent. They don't want the gap to narrow any further.
Much of Athletic Club's attacking play is coming down the left side. That's because they have the pace of Williams to use on that side and Roberto is isolated. He is the weak link.
Busquets and Roberto get mixed up with each other and Barcelona give the ball straight to Athletic Club in the centre of the pitch. That has been a common theme in this first half.
Messi is starting to dictate things for Barcelona, although it's quite clear that the Argentinean isn't quite all there. He is doing a lot of walking down. The usual pace is gone.
The intensity that Athletic Club are playing with is giving Barcelona some problems. The Catalans are struggling to find their usual passing flow. The hosts are disrupting them.
We are still waiting for the first goal this evening, but this has been a highly entertaining opening 30 minutes. Both teams have had chances to find the back of the net. Compelling.
Off the top of the bar! Herrerin came off his line to smother Semedo, who had broken in behind. That left the Athletic keeper stranded, though. Messi attempted the lob, but the shot bounces off the top of the bar.
Another Ter Stegen save! Barcelona once again have their German goalkeeper to thank for keeping things level. This time it's an overhead kick by Garcia! That would have been spectacular.
Williams bursts into the box! That was a chance for the Athletic Club forward, who has the pace to get in behind the Barcelona defence, but Lenglet comes across to make the block.
Suarez should score! There's the first real opportunity for Barcelona to take the lead. The pass from Messi over the top was fantastic, but Suarez glances his header wide of the post.
The approach of the home side early on in this match has been impressive. Barcelona are seeing more of the ball, but it feels like Athletic Club are doing more with it to pose a threat.
The Barcelona coaching staff insisted before kick off that Messi was fully fit, but it certainly doesn't look like it on the basis of the first 20 minutes of the match here. Not at it.
Right across the face! Just seconds after making a stunning save, Ter Stegen misses a corner kick and the ball flashes right across the face of the Barcelona goal and wide. Yikes!
What a save from Ter Stegen! Susaeta must have thought that he'd scored. His shot was heading for the top corner of the Barcelona net, but the German keeper made the flying save.
Barcelona were dealt a blow this week when Arthur picked up an injury. The Brazilian midfielder has made quite the impression this season, but he will be out for the next five weeks.
That's twice in the last five minutes that Vidal has given the ball away cheaply in the centre of the pitch. The Chilean has earned the trust of Valverde recently. Poor start from him here, though.
Just wide! Vidal gives the ball away cheaply, allowing Athletic Club to burst forward on the counter attack. Yuri takes aim, but he zips his effort across the face of goal and wide of the far post.
Now we are starting to see the pattern we expected before kick off. Barcelona are pinging the passes around the middle of the pitch, with Athletic Club sitting back and absorbing.
Garcia heads clear from inside the penalty box. He was back to help out defend a Barcelona corner kick and you get the feeling that set pieces will be key to the game tonight.
Real Madrid's derby win against Atletico Madrid yesterday has closed the gap at the top of the Liga table. Barcelona are six points ahead, but can extend that to nine with a win here.
Barcelona have a free midweek next week. That is something of a rarity, at least on the basis of their recent schedule. They don't face Lyon in the Champions League until the week after next.
No Alba today! Messi tried to spread the play out to the left side, but Alba isn't in the Barcelona lineup tonight and Semedo doesn't quite have the same understanding with the Argentinean.
Williams picked up the Liga Player of the Month for January before kick off. He has been in exceptional form of late and is finally scoring the goals that many have expected of him for years.
It's been a decent start from the home side. Athletic Club are taking the game to Barcelona, but Pique gets up highest to clear a corner kick delivery into the penalty area.
One interesting tactical quirk from Athletic Club here is that they are playing two full backs on the left side. They know that Barcelona are strong down that side of the pitch.
So what sort of match are we going to get this evening? Barcelona will have plenty of the ball, as they always do, but Athletic Club have pace to burn on the rapid counter attack.
- 1st Half
The match is under way! It's Athletic Club against Barcelona in La Liga.
Okay, here we go. About to get started at San Mames. Kick off is just seconds away.
Athletic Club have a history of raising their game when the big clubs come to visit them. This won't be easy for Barcelona.
The players are walking out on to the pitch. The home fans are really up for this one.
Not long until kick off at San Mames. The atmosphere is building. This has to be one of the best stadiums in Europe. It really adds to the spectacle when the big teams visit.
Barcelona come into this game on the back of a Copa del Rey semi final draw against Real Madrid. They were unlucky not to win that game. They have been in good form of late.
I'm Graham Ruthven and you can catch me on Twitter ahead of the match to let me know your thoughts. Is there any way that Athletic can spring a surprise here? Tweet me!
Messi starts! The Argentinean has been struggling with an injury of late, but Valverde has decided that he is fit enough to make the Barcelona starting lineup for this game tonight.
TEAM NEWS: Athletic Club - Herrerin, De Marcos, Yeray, Inigo, Balenziaga, Benat, Garcia, Susaeta, Garcia, Yuri, Williams. /// Barcelona - Ter Stegen, Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Roberto, Busquets, Rakitic, Vidal, Messi, Coutinho, Suarez.
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 7.45pm.