Barcelona secure vital 1-0 win over Athletic Bilbao in title push

Barcelona secured a crucial 1-0 La Liga win at home to Athletic Bilbao, thanks to a late goal from substitute Ivan Rakitic.

The win ensures Barcelona’s La Liga title defence remains on track, following a 0-0 draw at Sevilla last week allowed Real Madrid to leapfrog them at the top of the table.

Zinedine Zidane’s side can return to the summit tomorrow, based on head-to-head record, if they beat Real Mallorca tomorrow in Madrid.

Athletic Bilbao had the better chances in the first half, with Yeray Alvarez heading wide, and Inaki Williams firing off target following a quick counter attack.

The hosts improved after the break, with Antoine Griezmann forcing a smart block from visiting keeper Unai Simon.

With time beginning to run out for Quique Setien, the former Real Betis boss brought on Rakitic, Riqui Puig and Ansu Fati.

Puig provided much needed drive from midfield, and Croatian international Rakitic found the breakthrough goal on 71 minutes, as Lionel Messi’s blocked shot fell to him inside the box.

Barcelona almost made it 2-0 in added time, but a fine double stop from Simon, on Arturo Vidal and Fati, kept the score at a single goal.

Image via Movistar

Tags Ivan Rakitic