Thursday, January 21

Messi has fun in Bilbao


He suffered at the beginning. He suffered in the end. But Barça signed a great game in San Mamés, which allowed them to discover the happier version of Messi. The captain had such a good time that in an attack of responsibility, after committing the error that gave Athletic to 2-3. Although the great news is that Leo is back. With plays worthy of 10, with goals so his that they made Koeman jump off the bench because he found him in an electric Dembélé and in a responsible Griezmann the partners who drew him a beautiful landscape in San Mamés.

But if something can start badly when Barça is walking, it almost always becomes dramatic. Not five minutes of game in San Mamés and I was already losing after the Williams goal portray an endless catalog of errors. Koeman’s team was attacking from the right flank when Dest, turned into a winger, lost the ball. A ball that had no air of danger. But Busquets jumped badly to the pressure leaving behind him a large estate A green meadow for the Athletic striker to feast on taking advantage of the erratic location of the centrals: Lenglet and Araujo. In the open field, Williams’ speed became a dagger for the Barça defense, portrayed in the exasperating slowness of the Frenchman, who assisted the Basque goal in the front row. Once again, Barça returned to their old ways

At such a terrible start the team of Koeman with excellent football in the final half hour of the first half, helped by a disoriented Unai Simón, the Athletic goalkeeper, who did not know where he was. Everything had started so badly that it looked like every day. But then Messi and Pedri sealed another new episode of that beautiful football dialogue that excites not so much for its present but for what it can become. If it is that Leo, of course, sees in the young Canarian, who was one year old when the Argentine debuted with the Barça jacket, a reason for hope. An argument to stay at your house in Castelldefels before packing your bags on the way to Paris. Or from Manchester.

Liquid front

Barça repeated in San Mamés the play that gave them the victory at El Alcoraz. Messi centers, in this case Unai Simón measures the distances wrong and thinks that the ball will go through the baseline, without noticing that the adventurer Frenkie de Jong appeared there to hunt it down and leave it on the head of the beardless Pedri. From inside to inside, that’s how 1-1 came, a prologue to the play that gives flight to the story of friendship and complicity that seal the teacher (Leo) and the Canarian student. An action that was born from the hand of Ter Stegen, then passed through Dest, De Jong, Busquets, Lenglet, Alba until two magicians turned on the light. Do you need to say their names? With the help of a clueless Unai, of course. Before, everything must be said, Dembélé decided that it had to be his night, disguised as a liquid striker, anchored at the beginning on the right wing, but appearing on all sides of the attack. It seemed that there were a lot of Dembélés scattered throughout Bilbao. And he merged well with Messi and Griezmann.

And Leo smiles

Those green shoots Peeked in Huesca, weighed down by the lack of efficiency, they began to grow in San Mamés with Leo smiling non-stop. He was having a blast with that tactical framework devised by Koeman where the interiors (De Jong and Pedri) fed him balls and the attack partners (Dembélé hypnotized the tender Basque defense and Griezmann disguised himself as Jordi Alba to assist him in the 1 -3) made life much easier for the captain. Again, there were Messianic plays, like that blow that Unai’s right squad repelled, prologue of another Messian goal. Almost in the same place, but centimeters lower to seal a goal that returned his joy.

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A Messi and, of course, to Barça, who rose with great dignity from the disaster that Williams’ goal caused. He got up playing football well, scoring goals, feeling himself owner of the game and happy. At last, happy though Leo will miss a pass which was 2-3 for Athletic.

The file of Athletic – Barça (2-3)

Athletic: Unai Simón (3), Capa (4), Unai (5), Iñigo Martínez (5), Yuri (sc), U. Vencedor (4), Vesga (4), De Marcos (5), Muniaín (4), Raúl García (4) and Williams (6).

Coach: Marcelino (4)

Changes: Balenziaga (5) by Yuri (d. 31); Berenguer () by De Marcos (d. 67); Morcillo (sc) by Raúl García (m. 80)

Barça: Ter Stegen (6), Dest (4), Araujo (7), Lenglet (5), Jordi Alba (6), Busquets (6), De Jong (7), Pedri (8), Dembélé (7) Messi (8 ) and Griezmann (6).

Coach: Koeman (5)

Changes: Mingueza (6) of Dest (c. 74); Braithwaite () from Dembéle (c. 74)

Referee: Del Cerro Grande (6), from Madrid.

Yellow cards: Vesga (c. 27), Lenglet (c. 57); Dani García (d. 70)

Goals: 1-0, Williams (m. 3); 1-1, Pedri (c. 14); 1-2, Messi (m. 38); 1-3, Messi (d. 61); 2-3, Muniaín (m.90)

Stadium: New San Mamés.

Spectators: 0

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