Barcelona FC had a tough game last night when they met the lions from the Basque country – Athletic Bilbao.
Pep Guardiola said beforehand that this would be a nice game to watch, and he was right.The game started as expected with both teams giving 110%. The match ended in a 2-0 win for Barca with a strike from Andrés Iniesta with Messi as provider and and then Messi himself with a penalty kick.
I don’t know what Bielsa was thinking not playing Fernando Llorente and Iker Muniain from the start and it showed as the lions lacked their frontmen who always seem to cause problems.For me it was as if Guardiola decided to leave out Messi, Xavi and Iniesta just to see how things “panned” out!
Bielsa obviously wanted to rest these guys ahead of their second leg clash with Schalke 04 and didn’t want any surprises. Both teams made a few alterations in their squads to bring in some freshness and not put a strain on the usual starting lineup.
Iker Muniain nearly made it 2-1 with a shot that was saved off the line by Gerard Piqué, a shot that had Barca keeper Valdés beaten.
Barca still remain 6 points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid as the Merengues pummeled a poor Osasuna 1-5 in the Reyno de Navarra to stay top and keep things interesting. French star Karim Benzemá scored an absolute peach of a goal similar to a Marco Van Basten effort when he was playing for Holland against Russia in 1988. The ball came over from the left and Benzemá hit it on the volley into the hapless keeper’s top right hand corner. Goal of the season? Who knows!