La Liga: Atletico Bilbao humble ‘Messi-less’ Barcelona as Catalans begin title defence in defeat




Suarez injured during the encounter

The 38-year-old Aritz Aduriz scored a wonder goal with his first touch as a late substitute, as Athletic Bilbao beat reigning champions Barcelona in the season opener 1-0 in San Mames.

This is his last season at the club. What a way to start it and what a way to put a lethargic Barcelona to the sword.

He rose to bicycle kick a volley from just inside the area past Marc Andre ter Stegen.

Until the veteran’s magical intervention Barcelona had looked like trudging to a goalless draw without Lionel Messi.

The captain missed the game because of a lack of match-fitness, and from the 30-minute mark there was no Luis Suarez for Barcelona either after he pulled up with a calf injury.

Messi, even in battery-save mode would have brightened up this first half for Barcelona. As it happened it was Inaki Williams who was the most switched-on in the opening minutes.

He has just signed a new nine-year contract at Athletic and he took the fight to Barcelona’s defence.

He was helped by Ousmane Dembele who played a crazy pass back towards his own goal that went straight to the Athletic forward’s feet. Williams’ shot was brilliantly saved by Marc Andre ter Stegen.

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