Published: Mon, February 11, 2019
Sport | By Wilson Duncan

How to Watch Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona

How to Watch Athletic Bilbao vs. Barcelona

Marc-Andre Ter Stegen produced two fine saves to deny Athletic Bilbao victory as a lacklustre Barcelona were held to a goalless draw at the Estadio San Mames.

The struggling Philippe Coutinho retained his place alongside Suarez and Messi up front but Arturo Vidal came in for the injured Arthur Melo and Nelson Semedo started at left back, with Jordi Alba suspended.

There is a free midweek this week for the Blaugrana and then a home league fixture against Real Valladolid, but after that they have to travel to Sevilla and then to Real Madrid in the league.

Ernesto Valverde's men returned in much more positive mood and Messi curled a 53rd-minute free-kick just over, although the Argentina global was growing increasingly irritated by Bilbao's physical approach to marking him. "We also lacked communication today - it is the little details that make a difference".

Ter Stegen had to pull off a fine save to keep out Susaeta's curling left-foot shot six minutes later and Barcelona were less than comfortable in dealing with the two corners which followed in quick succession.

He then stood form to keep out an overhead kick from Raul Garcia and was alert in the second half, instinctively throwing an arm into the air to pat away a close range shot from Williams and later stretching to catch a shot from the forward.

Including last week's 1-1 draw with Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final, Valverde's side are without a win in three matches across all competitions.

He came closest to scoring for the visitors, sending a loose ball on to the top of the crossbar after Bilbao keeper Iago Herrerin fumbled on the edge of the area.

As a result, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde made first change in the 63rd minute as Carles Alena came on for Vidal in a straight swap in midfield.

Bilbao looked far likelier to break the deadlock in the closing stages, but were repeatedly shut out by the intimidating presence of the impressive Ter Stegen.

"Well we were first last week, we're first this week and, if I'm not mistaken, we'll be leaders next week as well", he said".

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