Thanks to a late goal given by substitute Ivan Rakitic, Barcelona made sure about vital 1-0 La Liga victory at home against Athletic Bilbao. The success guarantees Barcelona’s La Liga title protection stays on track, helping Real Madrid leapfrog them to the top of the table after a 0-0 draw last week at Seville.
Athletic Bilbao had the best chances all through the main half, with Yeray Alvarez going up high, and Inaki Williams shooting target after a fast counter-attack.
The hosts strengthened after the break, inciting the smart square to Antoine Griezmann from visiting manager Unai Simon.
With time starting to run out for Quique Setien, the previous Real Betis supervisor welcomed on Rakitic, Riqui Puig, and Ansu Fati. Puig got truly necessary midfield force, and Croatian international Rakitic found the 71-minute breakthrough target as Lionel Messi’s blocked shot tumbled to him in the net.
Barcelona almost made it 2-0 in added time, yet at one point, Simon’s decent twofold save, on Arturo Vidal and Fati, held the score.