Athletic Club vs Barcelona summary: score, goals, highlights, LaLiga 2021/22
Athletic Club vs Barcelona
Martinez to take the free but the ball is straight into the wall and the whistle sounds.
Strategic foul as the younger Williams was poised to break into the box.
Eric Garcia fouls Williams and is awarded a straight red
3 minutes of time to be added
Julen Agirrezabala gathers at the second time of asking after a Jordi Alba cross-shot. Williams has a pop from long range but Neto dives well to gather.
As we approach the 90 minute mark, one senses that both teams appear happy to settle for the point. Athletic appear tired and Barcelona are always dangerous with the likes of Griezmann and Memphis always a threat.
De Jong finds Depay and the Dutch striker drags the ball just past the foot of the Athletic post
Space a plenty now at San Mames with plenty of tired legs on the pitch. Has the game another twist or turn to throw at us?
Change for FCB: Emerson replaces Dest
Into the final ten minutes of action as Athletic look to strike on the break with more changes for the home side:
Berenguer and Garcia make way for Morcillo and Zarraga
Barcelona playing with added tempo now as Athletic start to tire
Jordi Alba carded
Nico Williams (Iñaki's borther) set to join the action (with Munain making way) as Barcelona probe and De Jong lobs the ball against the bar with the Athletic keeper well beaten.
He may not have found the target tonight but Iñaki Williams has been tireless this evening for the home side. Huge energy levels being displayed from the striker.
Despite their domination, it's just the solitary goal that divides both teams as Barcelona play with a added sense of urgency aware that time is slipping away.
Athletic still good value for their lead as the clock ticks down. Just over 20' remain in Bilbao and are Barça poised for their first setback of the season?
Vesga and Garcia on for Sancet and Vencedor.
Busquets finds Alba but the left back's volley is deflected away as Barcelona still look for a way through the wall of red and white.
Athletic also preparing a series of substitutes with Raul Garcia warming up.
Demir on for Braithwaite in the third FCB switch of the night
Sancet drives a fierce effort on goal and a stunning save from Neto deprives the Basque side.
Sergi Roberto on for Pedri
Williams is deprived by Neto with the Brazilan stopper alert.
Vencedor shoots and Garcia deflects the ball behind for the 12th corner for the Basque side.
Dest is looking like one of the better Barça players tonight as Williams wins yet another corner for Athletic.
Another Athletic corner and Munain goes short to Berenguer. The move breaks down and Neto gathers.
Barcelona looking for a way back as the visitors still struggle to find any sustained rhythm tonight.
So many corners with no end product in the first half from the home side and Martinez nods home to bag his fourth goal in a red and white shirt.
Berenguer was the Athletic man who almost opened the scoring as Lenglet and Sergi Roberto warm up for Barcelona
Almost a goal for the home side but a goal line clearance deprives the Basque side.
The teams take to the pitch with no changes at the interval. Athletic to start
A bright and entertaining half. Braithwaite could have opened the scoring early on but blazed over from close range. Athletic have looked the better side with Iñaki Williams proving to be a thorn in the side for the visiting side. Araujo did have the ball in the net late on but the Athletic keeper was fouled in the build-up with the Catalan side lacking the same level of poise as they displayed last week at Camp Nou.
The whistle sounds at San Mamés with 0-0 on the scoreboard.
2 minutes will be added. The ball is in the Athletic net but the Athletic keeper is alleged to have been fouled. Arajuo puts the ball in the net and Koeman is furious with the decision.
Griezmann upended by Martinez and Barcelona win a dangerous free as we enter time added on.
Final minutes of the half and it will be Koeman the happier of the coach to get to the interval and aim to regroup his side. Athletic finishing the half the stronger side.
Williams showing now signs of insecurity that his current lack of goal scoring would suggest. The smart money would be on the striker in opening the scoring for the home side.
Another corner for Athlletic, their sixth of the half as Williams drives at goal but the ball is straight at Neto in the FCB goal.
The contest is very nicely poised with the home side creating the better chances and Barcelona playing well in fits and starts.
Ten minutes of the half remain as Williams goes close again but this time the flag is up
Williams heads over with, once again, Athletic able to easy their way through the Barcelona midfield.
Araujo will take the place of the central defender in the first substitution of the night as Pique gets treatment from the Barcelona medics.
Pique gestures towards the Barcelona bench and the central defender seems to be in trouble as he calls for a switch.
Garcia carded for FC Barcelona for a trip on Williams.
Vencedor goes close after decent build-up play from Williams. Athletic now on top after a brief spell of domination from the men in lilac.
The Barcelona defender is okay to carry-on and we're back kn action.... Barcelona look a little disjointed when under pressure with this new back line still finding their groove.
Dramatic stuff here in San Mamés as Athletic go close. Jordi Alba goes to ground and looks to be in trouble.
Memphis has an effort from long range but no problem for Julen Agirrezabala
Barcelona dominating the action in terms of possession after 20'
First card of the night is awarded to Iñigo Martinez as he colliudes with Pedri.
Excellent intervention from De Jong as Williams fins himself in the box alone but the striker hesitated and saw his effort deflected by the Dutch man.
Better from Barcelona with the Catalan side looking positive every time Memphis gets on the ball. The Dutch man has threaded some fine passes in the opening quarter of an hour of action.
Neto does look a little lacking in self confidence in the FCB goal, on more than one occasion the Brazilian stopper has been slow in marshaling his rear guard with Inaki Williams a constant threat.
Sancet rattlles the crossbar with Neto beaten
Confusion at the back for Barcelona as Neto and Garcia fail to communicate as Iñaki Williams lurked and for the fourth time tonight, it's a corner for the home side.
Decent work from Memphis in the build-up to the Braithwaite miss. The Dutch player being called Memphis rather than Depay in the Spanish media.
Oh my word.... a howler from Braithwaite as the Danish striker drives the ball over the ball with the empty goal gaping. Miss of the 2021/22 season to date.
Julen Agirrezabala in the Athletic goal gathers the ball for the first time tonight as Barcelona slowly get into the game
Barça very much on the back foot in the opening stages with a high press from Marcelino's men. Barcelons yet to cross the half way line with the ball yet.
More pressure from the men from Bilbao as Pique this time is forced to clear his lines and Bilbao win another corner kick.
Mistake from Neto as his clearance is driven out for a throw in as Williams earns a corner for the Basque outfit.
Impressive scenes in the stands with approximately 90% of the fans tonight at San Mamés wearing red and white shirts. Barcelona to get us underway.
The teams take to the pitch, Athletic in their classic red and white stripes, black shorts and socks. Barcelona in their new lilac away kit as the Athletic Club anthem rings out. Busquets and Munain in for the coin-toss with tonight's match official Martinez Munuera.
The fans inside the stadium find their voice with cheers of 'Athletic Club' with many fans clearly emotional on returning to San Mamés.
The teams are in the San Mamés tunnel and kick-off is just less than five minutes away.
A reminder of the starting line-ups should you be just tuning in. Both sides set to employ a 4-3-3 formation.
- 13 Neto
- 18 Alba
- 2 Sergiño Dest
- 24 Eric Garcia
- 3 Piqué
- 21 Frenkie De Jong
- 5 Busquets
- 16 Pedri
- 12 Braithwaite
- 9 Depay
- 7 Griezmann
- 26 Julen Agirrezabala
- 24 Balenziaga
- 28 Daniel Vivian
- 4 Íñigo Martínez
- 15 Lekue
- 14 Dani García
- 16 Unai Vencedor
- 7 Berenguer
- 10 Muniain
- 9 Williams
- 8 O. Sancet
Last minute prep. for Barcelona as kick-off looms
This is Athletic Club
A few years ago Copa 90 produced this fine documentary on Athletic and the idiosyncrasy of the club and their all-Basque policy. Well worth a watch with plenty of insight to the psyche of the club.
Almost two years to the day, Athletic faced FC Barcelona in the opening day of the 2019/20 season with a spectacular last minute goal from Aritz Aduriz deciding the contest.
The iconic San Mamés ground looking resplendent tonight and even better with the return of fans.
Fans return to San Mamés
For the first time since March 2020, spectators (albeit in reduced numbers) return to 'La Cathedral' with 12,000 fans anticipated tonight. LaLiga chief Javier Tebas recently stated that hopes to see full stadiums come early 2022. Attending fans must wear facemasks and observe social distancing measures.
Athletic-Barça: weather conditions
It's a mild evening in the capital of Vizcaya with an ideal temperature of 22C/74F in Bilbao, optimum conditions for the players and the anticipated 12,000 spectators.
Tonight's match official
The Benidorm born Juan Martínez Munuera will be the referee at San Mamés this evening with this set to be his seventh season officiating at the top level in LaLiga.
Coach Ronald Koeman announced that the team expects to let Pedri go on a two-week vacation after the game in Bilbao with the teenager being close to an ever present last season for the Catalan club. The summer saw the midfielder play for Spain at Euro 2020 and at the Tokyo Olympics with the player earning a well-earned break after this draining schedule.
Players to watch: FC Barcelona - Memphis Depay
The Dutch internatioal was in fine form in his league debut last weekend against Real Sociedad despite not getting on the score-sheet with Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman full of praise for his compatriot.
Players to watch: Athletic - Iñaki Williams
The Athletic striker is under a degree of pressure with criticism for his lack of prowess in front of the target. What better opponent and occasion with fans back at San Mamés to break his dry spell.
Barcelona will be in lilac tonight with the new season (rather smart) away kit set to make it's 21-22 LaLiga debut
There is now Yeray, Yuri, Capa or De Marcos for Athletic with the quartet missing through injury and Unai Simon is on holiday following Euro and Olympic action which means Julen Agirrezabala starts between the sticks for 'Los Leones'
The last meeting between both sides at San Mames ended in a humbling 0-4 home defeat with Griezmann, De Jong and a double from Messi securing maxium points for the Catalan side. One of those three players is no longer with the Camp Nou side !
Tonight's match in Bilbao also heralds the first time spectators get to see 'Los Leones' in over 17 months with a limited number of spectators permitted to attend tonight with 12,000 fans expected at the San Mamés.
The Catalan side started the campaign in fine fashion last weekend with an impressive 4-2 win over Real Sociedad at Camp Nou with Athletic drawing 0-0 against Elche in a drab affair at the Martinez Valero stadium last Monday.
The action in Bilbao gets underway at 22:00 CEST/16:00 ET
Hello and welcome to our live LaLiga coverage from San Mamés as Athletic face FC Barcelona in the second matchday of the 2021-22 LaLiga season.