Athletic beat Barcelona thanks to late Aduriz stunner
What a finish at San Mamés. Just a week ago Aduriz announced that he will retire at the end of the season. After 87 minutes of the match against reigning champions Barça he climbed from the bench and with his first touch buried a stunning strike a minute later to hand his side victory.
Barcelona had looked disjointed throughout, Ernesto Valverde's side failing to click with new arrivals Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann handed starts, the former ahead of Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets, the latter in the absence of Leo Messi. Only the Dutchman emerged with his reputation unscathed as Griezmann spent almost the entire match scowling and sulking around El Catedral as the congregation mercilessly reminded him of his La Real past. Valverde might have put him out of his misery earlier were it not for the early exit of Luis Suárez, who suffered a calf injury in the first half.
It was the first time Athletic had beaten Barcelona in six years and the third time in a row the champions had failed to claim a victory against a traditional, if less vaunted, Liga foe. Nonetheless, while Real Madrid and Atlético have been playing catch-up against Barça's domestic dominance, it is the Lions who have opened up the Liga race on the opening day of the season. It remains now to be seen who will take further advantage of Barça's inability to hit the ground running. Valverde's first port of call will be sick bay on Sunday morning to seek an update on his talisman Messi, without whom the champions looked a pale shadow of the side that walked LaLiga last season.
Dembélé tries to find a way through but Athletic bring the ball out and the whistle goes! Athletic have beaten the champions for the first time since 2013!
What a save from Simon! The Athletic keeper tips Lenglet's header over for a corner.
Three minutes added...
And it will probably, probably be enough to hand Athletic victory. What an inspired sub from Garitano!
The stands go absolutely mental after that! What a goal! What a goal!
Goooooooooooooooooal! Incredible! It's Aduriz with his first touch and it's a bicycle kick to boot! What a goal, what a player, what a result this would be!
He's got Ter Stegen rattled already, the Barça keeper hoofing a ball straight out into touch.
Williams heads off to deserved applause, and here comes Aduriz, to a roar from the stands! The big man is in the house!
Beñat free kick, swung in towards the far post, but it's out for a goal kick under pressure from Griezmann.
Griezmann gets a head to the ball but can't guide it on target. He really does look thoroughly snarked off, it has to be said.
Dembélé and Muniain both down in a heap after a 50-50.
Beñat on for Unai López. Surely it's Aduriz o'clock?
Rafinha! Great footwork from the Brazilian as he tees himself up for a shot that deflects wide for a corner.
Barça try and pick a way through again but Athletic are so organised at the back that Valverde's experimental formation can't find a way through.
Change for Barça as La Masia graduate Carles Pérez comes on for Sergi Roberto.
Sergi Roberto penalised for a foul as Barça looked to build an attack.
Oh dear Dembélé... straight out for a goal kick as he tries to find a yellow shirt that wasn't there. He's shown some nice touches this evening, but that wasn't one of them.
Rakitic! Close from the half time sub, who latches onto a loose ball after Griezmann was dispossessed and hammers a shot just over Simon's bar!
Barça huffing and puffing but Athletic's house is remaining very firm indeed. The home side have rather run out of ideas in attack though, other than just hoiking the ball up in the general direction of Williams.
Óscar de Marcos heads off for Oihan Sancet, who draws a huge cheer from the stands. One of the brightest prospects from the Lezema academy, the young forward.
Unai Núñez goes in the book but it's a bit harsh as Rakitic, with a break getting away from him, goes for the oldest trick in the book and basically just runs straight into the Athletic defender.
Griezmann is sent on a wild goose chase down the right and Simon simply watches the ball roll out for a goal kick. The grass ain't always greener, Antoine. And there was plenty of it for him to cover there. He's got no support and his face says it all.
It's laid off to Yuri but the defender's shot is horribly wide.
That's the first yellow of the game and it's Piqué who gets his name in the book for an elbow on Raúl García, who makde the most of the opportunity in fairness, as Piqué tries to explain.
Into the wall, a bit of a scramble ensues, and it's out for a goal kick. Still 0-0 at the hour mark.
Free kick to Barça inside shooting range (just) as Unai López takes out Dembélé. Looks like the Frenchman fancies a nibble himself here...
Yuri lucky to evade the ref's book as he clatters into Semedo from behind.
Williams! A lovely header through puts the striker into goal-sniffing territory but his effort hits the side netting!
Griezmann is cutting a very frustrated figure in the middle...
Capa charges down the right and after an interchange with Williams it falls to Unai López, who sends it into the stands well high of Ter Stegen's goal. That has San Mamés up on its feet though.
Rafinha! Simon may have got a touch to that but it seemed to clip the foot of the post and it has indeed been awarded as a corner.
Lenglet is rather lucky to escape a caution for catching Williams with his elbow in midfield but the ref accepts his insistence it was an accident.
Barça win a corner after a decent passing move. Dembélé delivers on to the bonce of Rakitic and the Croatian lands a header on top of the net from inside the area. Better from the visitors but this is still hardly vintage stuff, as Valverde's expression on the touchline highlights.
A cagey and scrappy start from both sides with a few misplaced passes but Barça do look a bit more balanced with Rakitic in midfield and Griezmann operating in a more familiar central role.
We're back underway! 0-0 at San Mamés!
The teams are coming back out for the second half. Valverde makes a change as Aleñá is hooked for the experience of Ivan Rakitic.
Barça with just over 60 percent of the possession in the first half but Athletic on top in the shots count with six to two, four on target from the Lions.
And that's the half! 0-0 it remains at the break, Athletic the better side but Barça have rattled the woodwork twice. It's a funny old game.
Piqué gets his head to it. He's about the only outfield player in yellow to have merited his place in the opening 45.
Corner to Athletic, probably the last chance of the half...
Rafinha! The Brazilian conjurs a shot out of nowhere on his left from outside the area and Simon does superbly to tip it onto the bar!
Oddly, Athletic seem to be strolling towards the break as well when surely going for Barça's nuts would be the move on the stroke of half time before Valverde can get his chalk out.
Five minutes for Barça to hang on before Valverde can try and make some sense of all this... it's been poor from Barça. Very, very poor.
Athletic can smell blood now. No Messi, no Suárez, Griezmann well off the pace, Dembélé anonymous... López has a pop but it's well wide.
Nope, Suárez is in fact off, Rafinha on to replace him.
Ter Stegen again! The Germany keeper is earning his coin this evening as he keeps out a García strike from within the area. Suárez is back on in the meantime.
Ter Stegen is down as Raúl García gives it the "who, me?" look, both players going for an Unai López cross.
And now the Uruguayan is off, it appears he may have twanged a calf muscle...
Suárez! Off the post! Out of nothing, the Uruguayan conjurs a thunderous strike, pouncing on an Athletic mistake, the ball being passed back to Simón without the purveyor of said pass spotting Suárez. He really caught that as well!
Semedo looks imploringly to the heavens as he's brought down on the byline but there was no foul play there. Just a lack of cohesion among his teammates.
Well, Athletic rattle the woodwork but it was irrelevant as the flag was up. Every Barça player but Ter Stegen, who had understandably turned to face the threat, had stopped already.
All a bit scrappy at the moment, no real blows being landed by either side.
Goal kick to Barça as a ball aimed at Williams goes out on the far side. Athletic more or less camped in the Barça half but Piqué decides he's had enough of all that and goes on a charge upfield. In vain though as Alba again fails to connect with Griezmann.
Free kick to Athletic in midfield as Muniain and Sergi Roberto get into a tangle.
Athletic on top at the moment, Barça struggling to put much of anything together at the moment.
Dembélé does well on the edge of the area and Griezmann's backheel into the danger zone is a good idea but there's nobody there to meet it. Suárez didn't get the invite to the Frenchman's intent.
Athletic break again as García puts Williams through but this time Piqué is alert to the danger and cuts out the ball.
Williams again! He really shoud have tested Ter Stegen from there after being put rhough one-on-one but shoots tamely at the Germany stopper with predictable results.
Another Barça move breaks down. Very disjointed from Valverde's side so far. Athletic have the benefit of extreme familiarity and it shows.
Griezmann gets a ticking off for a very clumsy challenge on Unai López. Early frustration showing as he hasn't really had a kick yet.
It comes to nothing though as Alba and Dembélé get their wires crossed.
Athletic threaten again but Bará get their boot on the ball and try the patient approach, It results in a corner eventually.
Williams has just signed a contract at San Mamés until 2028, with a prohibitive buy-out clause. Lions fans would agree unanimously that keeping him was the club's main priority.
Raúl García makes a nuisance of himself from the resulting corner but no more than that and Barça have a goal kick.
Williams! What a strike from the Athletic forward! Ter Stegen does well to keep out a vicious effort from about 25 yards out.
Athletic corner.... swung in dangerously enough but De Jong is there to clear for the visitors.
San Mamés roars its approval as Griezmann's first touch eludes him.
Barça knock it about a bit as Athletic press high up the pitch... little change in tactics from last season from the Lions, who will look to unleash Williams and Muniain from as close to the halfway line as possible.
De Jong gets a little welcome to LaLiga from Raúl García - of course he does - but the ref keeps his card in his pocket for now. Cynical from the veteran nose-tweaker there though.
And we're off! Athletic get the 2019-20 season started!
The preliminary handshakes etc are over and both sides are ready to go!
Both sides in the tunnel now and we're about to get underway!
Just a few minutes to go now until kick-off in San Mamés as the 2019-20 Liga season gets underway!
Ernesto Valverde of course was the architect of Athletic's first major trophy in over 30 years when an inspired Aritz Aduriz led a 4-0 first leg destruction of Barça in the Spanish Super Cup back in 2015. He's still warmly regarded in Bilbao, as you can imagine.
And huge cheers go up as Athletic trot out to go through their paces.
A loud chorus of jeers greets the Barça players as they come out for their pre-match warm-up.
The fans are starting to pour into San Mamés now and the atmosphere, as always in Bilbao, is electric.
So, back to tonight's game and both Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic are on the bench for Barça... sign of a generational shift from Valverde?
No Philippe Coutinho in the Barça squad this evening with the Brazilian apparently closing in on a loan move to Bayern Munich.
The sharp eyed among you will probably have noticed that Barça's team consists of just 10 players... either an interesting ploy by Valverde or a minor error in the graphics department at Camp Nou. We imagine De Jong is the missing man, with Rakitic and Busquets both named on the bench.
It's been six seasons since the Lions turned over Barça at San Mamés but the two Liga meetings between the sides in 2018-19 ended in draws, with just two goals over the 180 minutes.
And here's Athletic's line-up: Iñigo Martínez misses out as does Iñigo Córdoba, with Oscar de Marcos coming in on the right in support of Iñaki Williams. Unai Simón gets the nod in sticks ahead of Herrerín.
Here's Barça's confirmed starting XI. No major surprises, but Frenkie de Jong misses out on a start after not training fully this week, allowing Carles Aleñá another chance to show what he can do.
Athletic, meanwhile, face the usual issues with their squad, namely their admirable if somewhat restrictive recruitment policy. Hanging on to Iñaki Williams was their best bit of business this summer but Gaizka Garitano steadied the ship well last season and has Athletic on a run of 14 Liga games unbeaten at San Mamés.
Barça will be without Leo Messi for the opening game of their title defence with the Argentinean struggling with a calf injury that has dogged him during pre-season but Ernesto Valverde is hardly without resources in his squad, as we discuss here.
Hello and welcome to AS English's live coverage of the 2019-20 Liga opener between reigning champions Barcelona and Athletic Bilbao from San Mamés. Kick-off is at 21:00 CEST.