Watch: Lionel Messi grabs his second at Athletic Club to make it 3-1

Athletic Club and Barcelona lock horns in this evening’s mouthwatering La Liga clash at San Mames.

The game marks Marcelino‘s first in charge of the Basque side given he’s just taken over from Gaizka Garitano, who lost his job following Athletic’s 1-0 victory over Elche on Saturday.

Victory could see the hosts climb above high-flying Celta Vigo into eighth place and inject a dose of real positivity into an inconsistent campaign.

Lionel Messi and Pedri

Should Ronald Koeman‘s Barcelona emerge with a win they could go third, above Real Sociedad, and bring a measure of positivity into what’s been a discontent camp.

It was a game that mattered a great deal to both sides, and an action-packed opening period underlined that.

It was Athletic that struck first blood, Inaki Williams showing both physical pace and speed-of-thought to latch on to a through ball, hold it up and coolly finish past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Inaki Williams

Barcelona hit back inside the opening quarter of an hour. Lionel Messi hiked a high ball crossfield to find Frenkie de Jong at the back post, who brought the ball back across goal for Pedri to score. Unai Simon could have perhaps done better.

Shortly before half-time, the Blaugrana took a deserved lead. Messi played a cute ball in to Pedri, who delayed for a moment before back-heeling into the path of Messi, who had broken, for the Argentine to coolly finish.

Messi struck the upright and had a goal ruled out for offside, but eventually got his team the two-goal cushion they desired. This time, it was Antoine Griezmann rather than Pedri who teed up the Argentine to finish accurately.

Tags Athletic Club Barcelona La Liga Lionel Messi