(Video) Ivan Rakitic fires Barcelona in front against Athletic Bilbao

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has come off the bench to fire them into a vital 1-0 lead at home to rivals Athletic Bilbao.

Quique Setien’s side have struggled to break down a resolute defensive performance from the visitors, with Inaki Willams and Yeray Alvarez having the best chances of the opening 45 minutes.

La Blaugrana have improved after the break, with Athletic goal keeper Unai Simon showing great anticipation to block Antoine Griezmann’s effort on 55 minutes.

Setien opted to bring on Riqui Puig, Ansu Fati and Rakitic to try and force the issue for the Catalan side in the closing stages.

The three substitutes all played a key role in edging Barcelona into the ascendancy.

With Bilbao working hard to shut the door in the hosts faces, Rakitic arrived into the box on 72 minutes, and calmly slotted home, as Lionel Messi’s shot deflected into his path.

The Catalans will be determined to hold on in the final minutes, as a win brings them back above Real Madrid at the top of the table, with Zinedine Zidane’s side in action against Real Mallorca tomorrow.

Image/Video via BeIN Sports

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