NewslettersSign inAPP
spainSPAINargentinaARGENTINAchileCHILEcolombiaCOLOMBIAusaUSAmexicoMEXICOperuPERUlatin usaLATIN USAamericaAMERICA
Barcelona BCN
Raphinha 45'

Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona, summary: Muniain handball VAR, score, goals & highlights | LaLiga Santander 22/23

Check out how the action unfolded in a crazy game at San Mamés.

Athletic Bilbao vs Barcelona: as it happened

Signing off...

OK, folks, that's all from myself tonight!

Thank you for joining this very calm, quiet...

What am I saying. My head's gone. What a game we had tonight!

Again, thanks for joining and make sure you check out AS USA for more!

BILBAO, 12/03/2023.- Las peñas del Athletic lanzan al terreno de juego billetes con la cara del presidente del FC Barcelona Joan Laporta con la palabra "mafia" durante el encuentro correspondiente a la jornada 25 de primera división que disputan hoy domingo en el estadio de San Mamés, en Bilbao. EFE / Luis Tejido.

Luis Tejido / EFE

Athletic fans protest Negreira case

The fans fulfilled their promise to throw fake money with the Barcelona badge, the dollar symbol and the word 'mafia'.

Here is the full story.

Here's how the table looks:

Barça maintain their 9 point lead over rivals Real Madrid; were it not for the VAR decision, that gap would be at 7. Alas, it was not to be for Athletic, and the Catalan side take one more step towards the title.


Iñaki's post-match interview:

Either someone told Iñaki Williams a hilarious joke, or he just watched the replay of the VAR decision... that's a pretty clear showing of his opinion on the matter.

Full-time report:

What an end to a crazy game. Barcelona dropped and dropped as Athletic grew three thousand sizes and squeezed them into a box fit only for a baby mouse.

Nico was the bright spark down the left side and was a constant threat over the top from the long ball, which Valverde pointed out at the end of the game.

The first half was slightly more stodgy but the changes in the second, especially from the home side, gave the game a new life and by the end, they have every right to be aggrieved regarding the goal that was ruled out.

Muniain’s arm does touch the ball (or does it?!), but the contact - wherever it is - is so minor and can only be found with a super-slow-motion camera.

But hey ho, some go for you and some go against. This time it was Barcelona who got the luck of the VAR Gods, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time that we see a controversial decision in LaLiga or beyond.

Joules Koundé post-match

We don’t have the capacity to close the game and seal results, we suffered, we knew it was going to be tough. It’s always tough to play here, they have quick players and battle.

In a long season, sometimes you play well and sometimes it’s more difficult, but everyone always does their defensive work and that’s key, sometimes if you don’t play well it’s important to win.

It’s not the first time that we end up changing positions in defence, it’s true that it’s hard to come into such an intense game (as a substitute), but it happens. The important thing is that everyone knows their jobs. 

We are disappointed to concede the goal, but I think its a handball, for me its the correct decision.

Joules Koundé, FC Barcelona

That's some record...

Having the ball is Xavi's best form of defence, it seems...

I was going to ask you if you think it was a handball!

I don’t know, but it doesn’t matter. VAR is there to correct errors, penalties and things, but these things… things that happen 5 passes before, I don’t know.

But it is what it is: it was our turn today and it will be someone else’s another day. But going through the game with a telescope… It’s normal for us to be annoyed.

Ernesto Valverde, Athletic manager

Barça press high, they stop you from playing. It made us play lots of long passes and using Raúl near to Iñaki meant we wanted to try reach the goal. We thought it would help us to create chances. But against Barça, the games are always long. 

We are in a bad run of results, we need to be more decisive in front of goal, but we’re going to keep trying. In the first half we couldn’t control the game and that’s how they got the goal. 

Ernesto Valverde, Athletic manager

Xavi post-match:

The same thing happened again: we had 70 minutes playing well. It’s normal to suffer here. But it’s a win that’s worth its weight in gold. We keep thinking we have to improve. 

Xavi, FC Barcelona manager

We had a lot of chances but only one goal. But it’s also important to be solid in defence, although we have to be calmer up front and have more control.

Xavi, FC Barcelona manager

Balde needs to keep playing for Barça, he is at a high level and I hope he continues like this. He is the surprise of the season.

Xavi, FC Barcelona manager

Frenkie has had a lot of months at an extraordinary level. He has to play well with Gavi and he does that, he gives us a lot. He’s one of the best centre midfielders in the world in my opinion.

Xavi, FC Barcelona manager

Xavi post-match coming up...

De Marcos post-match:

It’s normal we’re annoyed, you can’t celebrate goals now.

It was a bit dodgy, I didn’t see it but they told me it looks like a shoulder. With all the work we did, to end with this feeling always hurts.

The team played well and it hurts. It’s not fair to me, we should have scored at least one. We deserved more, that’s why we feel hurt by this, it’s difficult. 

We had chances to draw level.

De Marcos, Athletic Club

Ter Stegen post-match:

All games are tough but we knew this would be difficult, one of the most difficult in the league.

In the end it’s what matters, winning. We all defended and you have to win these games. 

I didn’t see the situation, but that’s why we have VAR, but it’s important because we keep a clean sheet.

Ter Stegen, FC Barcelona

And that's all!

What. A. Game.

30 seconds to go...

Nico hits a shot from the edge of the box but it's poorly hit and sails over the bar.

The fans in the stands have expressionless faces - they don't know what to think.


Then Guruzeta!!

What seemed like all 22 players in the box, Athletic had 3 chances in three seconds: Nico missed the first one, Yuri's second was cleared and Guruzeta's shot was blocked by Alonso's face!

Muniain is still talking to the referee as Athletic continue to push for an equaliser. Barça are dropping further and further back.

I'll give my opinion after the game...

7 added minutes.

Nobody say anything... nobody say anything...



We're into minute 90 here. The referee is still looking at the screen...

It looks like a potential Muniain handball in the recovery of the ball.

The referee is going to check something! 

He's going to the screen!

VAR are checking something here...

Guruzeta plays a perfect ball over the top and Iñaki Williams turns his leg speed up to one thousand, leaves the Barça defenders for dead and the Ghana forward pokes the ball past Ter Stegen after running 30 yards to goal on his own!



Zarraga booked after a foul on Gavi, who is Scrappy Doo in a Barça shirt.

Ansu gets a half-chance as Athletic make a mess of the buildup; Kessie nipped in and played the ball to the forward but Athletic's defenders did well to cover and clear before Ansu can shoot.

DeMarcos and Berenguer OFF

Capa and Guruzeta ON

Raphinha and Roberto OFF

Alonso and Ansu ON

Nico shoots and it hits the wall; Athletic players shout for handball...

Berenguer goes down on the edge of the box and Athletic win a hugely dangerous free-kick in what is a perfect position to score.

The corner is put in and lands at Nico's feet, who sends in another whipped shot. Unfortunately, it hits his brother, who is in an offside position.


A lovely one-two from Zarraga and Muniain ends with a curling shot that the goalkeeper saves at his far post!

Gil Manzano walks up to Ter Stegen and taps his watch like a stern parent. No more time wasting allowed.

Berenguer goes for goal but his shot is terrible and it dribbles like melting ice cream into the wall.

Barcelona are sitting off the home side as they continue to probe and look for a way through to goal. 

Athletic win a free-kick in a very dangerous area, Sergi Roberto trips Muniain on the edge of the box as the player came inside from the corner of the pitch.

Zarraga runs into the referee and falls over, to which the ref plays the 'advantage' arm signal. Brilliant.


Iñaki played a simple pass in behind the Barça defence and Berenguer hit a right-footed shot to goal from close range that Ter Stegen tipped onto the near post!

Athletic have had most of the possession over the past few minutes, but have been completely unable to carve anything out with it.

Barcelona look increasingly comfortable.

Balenziaga OFF

Yuri ON

That makes it 3 players who, if they are booked, won't make the Clásico next week: Busquets, Raphinha and Kessie.

Ferran OFF

Kessie ON

Athletic's press has dropped of massively since the restart. Gavi, for one, is seeing a lot more of the ball in between the lines as Barça play the ball around the defensive block, looking for a way in.

Kessie warming up to come on...

Vesga and RaúlGarcía OFF

Muniain and Zarraga ON


Balde hits a laser-guided cross across goal that nobody in a 'sky grey' shirt gets on the end of...

Lewandowski finds time and space on the edge of the box, then he does exactly what you'd expect him to. I'm not even going to say what. Because you already know. But it goes over.

Changes are being prepared for Athletic...

Raúl García plays a nice pass to De Marcos who makes a run down the right but his pass inside to Nico is rushed as the Barça players press and recover the ball. Still, more positive signs for Valverde's team.

Koundé cuts out a pass from Berenguer that once again looked to find Iñaki Williams down the left. Athletic are having more of the ball over the past few minutes.

Athletic break with Berenguer, who pops the ball off to Iñaki on the left. Nico is absolutely bolting down the right like a solar flare but Iñaki's cross is poor and flies way over his head and hair.

Both players, thankfully, look good to carry on. Vamos.

Agirrezabala is back up and looks OK, as does Vivian, who took a huge hit in the face. A full goalkeeper's worth of body to the nose, in fact. Ouch.

Free-kick to Barça after Gavi is brought down on the right. Agirrezabala comes off his line and gets a fist to the ball, but he makes contact with Vivian in the process and the two players are down.


Lewandowski goes close!

Balde did excellently well to jump through two challenges on the left and play a cross to Lewandowski, which he headed just wide.

Athletic's press as Barça pass around the back is couple with frankly insane levels of noise as the fans whistle every pass.

Nico sends an ambitious cross towards goal from the left but hisconnection is poor and the ball dribbles out next to the near post.

49,741 in San Mamés tonight, which is a record!

Vivian does well to shove Balde to the ground after the left-back. makes a bursting run down the left.

Barça start by holding the ball, drawing Athletic Club out of their defensive shape. 

No changes to either team, by the way.

Gavi gets the second half going!

The players are back out! Here we go again!

Busi's first-half numbers:

And one waka-waka of his hips. Piqué, I hope you're not watching.

Here's the 'money' I mentioned earlier...

It is a very inventive idea indeed.

HT report:

Well, that got tasty at the end. It was looking like a bit of a stodgy game, with micro-fouls all over the pitch.

The home side came closest with a crashing header off the bar and until that point it would be unfair to say that Athletic shouldn't have been ahead.

Lewandowski came closest for the visitors but a good Agirrezabala save put an end to his chance, and the striker hasn't seen much since.

Athletic have defended well but that one slip is how Barça get you, and this time we had a bit of VAR drama. He was definitely onside, that's for sure. What I'm not so confident about is what happened at the end, where an Athletic attack appeared to end in controversial fashion with a potential handball in the box to which VAR said no.


VAR took a look at the end for a potential handball in the Barça box, but it wasn't given and we go to the break!

Athletic mount one last attack ... AND THEY WANT A PENALTY

Busquets, on the edge of the box, flicked his hips like Shakira to send the midfielder the wrong way. He opened the play out to the right where Raphinha was all alone. The winger took a touch and fired a shot into the far corner of the goal.



VAR is checking...


Raphinha was in an advanced position when the ball arrived at his feet. The Brazilian took the ball on the right and smacked it into the far corner.

1 added minute.

Barça with some potentially dangerous possession just before the half ends, but Athletic defend comfortably.

Busquets trips Berenguer as the forward looks to break away. A very intelligent move as the Williams brothers were piling forward to help in the move and Barça could have been caught out.

De Marcos does excellently well to stop Lewandowski from creating a chance: Sergi Roberto played a looping cross from the right that the striker managed to bring down as De Marcos fell to the floor, but the defender stuck a leg in and cleared the danger.

Five minutes of normal time to go: this game could go either way...

Koundé doesn't doubt the next ball over his head as Iñaki is charging him down. Ter Stegen comes to collect.

Vesga gets a huge cheer as he steps in to stop Raphinha, who had isolated the midfielder 1vs1 in his preferred position on the right wing.

FC Barcelona push forward, forcing the home side back. The passes go round and round, from one side of the box to the other...

The crowd is absolutely electric: they are pushing Athletic on and are making Barcelona's players appear scared on the ball!


The corner was whipped towards goal and Raúl García's header crashed off the bar!


Iñaki received the ball on the right, just inside the box, and he struck a low drive towards the near post; Ter Stegen parried the effort away.

Fake money printed in Barcelona colours has begun to rain from the stands... very inventive, I must say.

Iñaki booked for kicking the ball away. He was penalised for a 1vs1 on Kounde that looked very weak; he's rightfully annoyed.

A few half-chances for Athletic over the past 45 seconds but their final touch/pass is just off and they can't get the arrivals in the box to materialise into shots on goal.

Nico bursts away past Sergi Roberto but his touch is too heavy which allows Koundé enough time to come over and cover the space.


De Jong's cross curved dangerously close to goal and nobody in a red and white shirt dared touch it in case it flew in! The ball bounced just wide.


A ball is played over the top and Berenguer takes advantage of a Koundé/Ter Stegen mix up. The problem was that the forward wasn't expecting the ball to land at his feet and he got muddled up and missed the target.

Gavi jumps downwards to head the ball THAT IS ON THE FLOOR. This kid...

Balde hits a cross from deep and Christensen heads over. The game has definitely been more stop/start over the past few minutes with lots of fouls.

Twenty minutes in, and apart from the huge chance/great save from Agirrezabala, Athletic have had the better of the chances.

He's back up and running, thumbs up all round.

Raúl García is down, injured. The medical staff have come on to attend to him.


Lewandowski is played in behind and runs away from the defenders, but Agirrezabala comes out well to smother the ball inside the box!

Vesga slips as the ball arrives at his feet and his shot is easily blocked. Athletic are having a good spell of attacking football. 

Vesga hits an overhead kick from the edge of the box (yes, really) that flies wide.

Dani García and De Jong get into a tussle and the crowd erupts. All this needs is some Basque rain and we've got all the ingredients for a classic.

A dangerous free kick was given by the referee after Balde appeared to catch Raúl García on the right wing, but the linesman spoils the party and lifts his flag for offside.

Nico is brought down in the middle of the pitch after being tripped by Kounde.

Gavi thunders over to the referee to shout at him. Yes, Gavi, who is just back from suspension.


Sergio Busquets fires over from the edge of the box!

The ball was cleared and landed at the feet of the midfielder who hit his shot over Agirrezabala's goal.

Balde is fouled by Berenguer on the left, which Gil Manzano blows for. De Jong or Raphinha will send in the free-kick.

Barça now with some sustained possession, to the chagrin of the stadium, who boo their every touch.

Balde makes a mistake with his control and the ball rolls out. Laughter and cheering follows from the capacity crowd.

Nico is definitely the danger man in the opening stages: he fires a shot over the bar after receiving a long ball from Vivian. 

How Kounde and Sergi Roberto cope with him tonight is going to be interesting to see.

It's been an intense start for both sides; Nico plays a dangerous ball in from the left side towards his brother but Ter Stegen comes and collects.

Vesga plays the ball wide to Nico who is closed down well by Sergi and Sergio, which sounds like a comedy police duo from Televisión Española.



Barça break and Raphinha plays an early ball across to the left where Ferran is there to smack a shot wide.

Another arrival into the box from Berenguer, who has started on the right, in the first 30 seconds. Whoosh. 

He ran the ball out of play after he got behind Balde.

Berenguer almost gets in behind immediately after a long ball. Koundé clears.

And we're off!

What an atmosphere we've got here tonight!

Iñaki Williams kicks the game off from left to right.

The pre-match himno has begun and the players are out of the tunnel... here we go!

Less than 10 minutes to go!

The players are in the dressing room and are undergoing the final preparations before the game!

We've had well over 100 votes so far!

What do you think? Another historic home win or will Barça be too much?
Aduriz, tras marcar al Betis


And the answer is...

Aritz Aduriz!

Yes, the then-38-year-old scored the amazing 1-0 winner in Athletic's last victory over Barça in the league.

Here is a reminder of the two lineups:

Athletic XI - Agirrezabala; De Marcos, Yeray, I. Martínez, Balenziaga; Dani García, Vesga; Nico W, Raúl García, Berenguer; Iñaki W

Barcelona XI - Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Koundé, Christensen, Balde; Gavi, Busquets, De Jong; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Ferrán
VILLARREAL (CASTELLÓN), 12/02/2023.- El centrocampista del FC Barcelona Pedri (c) reacciona durante el partido de Liga en Primera División que Villarreal CF y FC Barcelona disputan este domingo en el estadio de La Cerámica. EFE/Manuel Bruque

Manuel Bruque / EFE

Pedri, I (and Barça, I suppose) miss you!

Barcelona have played 31 games with Pedri and 19 without him. With the midfielder in the side, they have only lost once. When he's been missing, they've lost 5 games.

They also score less goals: 2.3 with him and 1.2 without the magic boy.
BARCELONA, 23/10/2022.- El entrenador del FC Barcelona, Xavi Hernández (d), saluda al entrenador del Athletic de Bilbao, Ernesto Valverde (i), al inicio del partido correspondiente a la jornada 11 de LaLiga Santander de Primera División disputado en el Spotify Camp Nou. EFE/Quique García
El centrocampista del FC Barcelona, Gavi (d), se lleva el balón ante el delantero del Athletic Club, Álex Belenguer, durante el encuentro correspondiente a la jornada 11 de Primera División que disputan hoy domingo en el Spotify Camp Nou, en Barcelona. EFE / Andreu Dalmau.

Quique García / EFE

Some Valverde/Barça statistics:

We all know that Ernesto Valverde, the current boss of Athletic Club, was the manager of Barcelona. But did you know...

- He took 117 points from his first 50 FCB games, the same as Pep Guardola (Xavi got 118).

- In the 2017/18 season under Valverde, Barça only lost once... in their penultimate game of the season!

- He also won the Copa del Rey that year, as well as the LaLiga title, beating Sevilla 5-0 in the final.

- Valverde lost only once in 47 LaLiga games

- Valverde's record against the Catalan club is: 28 games, 4 wins, 8 draws & 16 losses.

Quiz time!

Here's today's question:


Athletic Club's last victory against FC Barcelona came in the form of a 1-0 win at San Mamés in 2019 - but who scored the 89th minute overhead kick winning goal?


Hint: the player was 38 years old at the time

Send your answers to @English_AS or @j4brennan on Twitter!

Rodolfo Molina / Diario AS

Hands up if you want to watch the game!

Yes, Xavi certainly does. And he's back on the bench tonight after watching the game against Valencia from a glass box due to suspension.

Here's how you can watch the game on TV and online.

Athletic starting XI:


De Marcos - Vivian - Iñigo - Balenziaga

Vesga - Dani García

Berenguer - Raúl García - Nico W

Iñaki W

Barça team news!

Ter Stegen

Sergi Roberto - Kounde - Christensen - Balde

Busquets - De Jong - Gavi

Raphinha - Lewandowski - Ferran

Laporta's message to the Barça fans:

"Stay calm, Barça fans. Barça are innocent of what we're being accused of, victims of a campaign against our honour, in which everyone is now involved. No surprises, we'll defend Barça and prove the club's innocence"

Barça in their 'sky grey' shirt

Yes, that's the real colour name. It could be worse, I suppose. 

Athletic, as you'd expect, will be wearing their lovely red and white stripes.

Pre-match stats:

- Along with Real Madrid, Athletic and Barça are the only teams never to be relegated from Spain’s top division.

- Athletic are winless in their last 6 league games against FC Barcelona, with their last victory coming in 2019.

- FC Barcelona have won 8 games this season 1-0, their most ever in a single season.

- FC Barcelona have won the last 2 league games against Athletic by an aggregate score of 8-0.

- Athletic Club haven’t kept a clean sheet against Barça in their last 9 games.

- FC Barcelona have scored less than 2.5 goals in 4 out of their last 5 games.
What action did Real Madrid take on the Negreira case and Barcelona?

I'm not going to give you all the info on the Negreira case for the simple fact that I would be here until after the final whistle (and we don't want to miss the juicy football). Instead, here's the latest update in the saga. 

Real Madrid and Papa Flo are getting involved. Yeah.

Barça have arrived at The Lions' den!

San Mamés really is one of Spain's great grounds. Athletic fans know how to make a huge noise so it definitely won't be this quiet for long!


Who to watch: The Williams Brothers

Despite having only scored 5 goals in 20 starts, Iñaki Williams will pose an interesting threat for Barcelona, especially given the fact that Ronaldo Araujo, easily Barça’s best defender, is unavailable. Alongside his younger brother, Nico, the Williams could be in line to take advantage of the shuffling from Xavi and maximise Athletic’s potential to score.

How it looks for Athletic:

For Ernesto Valverde’s side, things look, well, pretty much as they always do for Athletic in recent times.

They are currently in ninth place, four points from European competitions. Osasuna sit two ahead of them, and a win for the Basque side would put them up to 7th on 36 points, one behind Villarreal. 


How things look at the top:

For Barcelona, the situation is very rosy indeed. They currently sit 6 points above Real Madrid and a win would take that total to 9.

Normally, San Mamés is seen as a tough place to go for any team in LaLiga, but with the resilience Barça have shown this season and their capacity to suffer and yet still win, even by a single goal, it looks like the formidable form they are showing can carry them through.


Team news: Athletic Bilbao

Jon Morcillo and Íñigo Lekue are the two players that are definitely injured for the game today. Unai Simon and Ander Herrera were initially doubtful for the tie but they have been left out of Valverde’s squad list.

Oihan Sancet is suspended for the game after getting a red card in Athletic’s last match against Rayo Vallecano.

Team news: FC Barcelona

The good news first: Robert Lewandowski is back! LaLiga’s top goal scorer might not be fit to start or play the full 90, but he has travelled with the squad and is set to feature. Gavi is also back after serving his suspension against Valencia.

The not-so-good news is that De Jong is a doubt, but he is in Bilbao with the team. As well as him, Pedri and Dembélé are not fit to play; they haven’t been included in the squad as they are continuing their recoveries. 

Ronald Araujo is also not available after picking up a red card against Valencia, something which makes the battle at the back at lot more interesting.


Hello and welcome to the AS USA live coverage of Athletic Club vs FC Barcelona!

It’s Joe here today to talk you through the action at San Mamés. 

This is one of LaLiga’s most iconic fixtures so we’re sure to be in for a Spanish football treat!

To be able to comment you must be registered and logged in. Forgot password?