Barcelona head in at half time with a 1-0 lead at Athletic Club in their crucial La Liga clash.
La Blaugrana made the trip to Bilbao on the back of Real Madrid increasing the pressure in the title race with a weekend win over Espanyol.
Xavi opted to recall key striker Robert Lewandowski to the starting XI in Bilbao, with the Polish star missing the last two games through injury, and he was superbly denied early on.
Lewy's touch was just a tad too heavy, but that could have been Barça's first…
📺 Watch the game LIVE on #LaLigaTV via @ViaplaySportsUK & @primevideouk Channels! pic.twitter.com/yaINSFH9Db
— LaLigaTV (@LaLigaTV) March 12, 2023
However, it was the hosts who carved out the clearest opening of the first 45 minutes, as veteran midfielder Raul Garcia powered a header against the crossbar.
That proved to be the wake up call Barcelona needed, before the interval, as Raphinha converted his ninth league goal of the season in added time.
Raphinha strikes first! 👏🇧🇷
There was a VAR check, but the goal was given and Barcelona are 1-0 up at the break thanks to the Brazilian 🎯#LaLigaSantander pic.twitter.com/l1ARXDvY3Z
— Viaplay Sports UK (@ViaplaySportsUK) March 12, 2023
Sergio Busquets’ through ball released the Brazilian inside the box and he calmly fired home a breakthrough for the league leaders.
After a VAR check, Raphinha's goal stands!
1-0 Barcelona 🔥 pic.twitter.com/IHcxXejr3Q
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 12, 2023
Raphinha giving Barca the lead in closing minutes of first half, right-footed shot from the right side. Raphinha been very clutch since the WC. 1-0 Barca.
Video🎥 Via @LETSIRDLV
— FCB Albiceleste (@FCBAlbiceleste) March 12, 2023
Images via Getty Images
If you need any more proof that Liga is rigged in favor of brokELona this year, compare the VAR decision that robbed Athletic for a goal and non call on Miranda last RM liga game in 22nd minute when ball bounced off his foot and caught his hand inside penalty area.
CuIos talk smack about Tebas but he us keeping them alive economically.
He knows if brokELonas out, he loses income.