Athletic Bilbao put up a fight, but in the end the superior quality of Barcelona told. Messi was the main man for the visitors, with his first half goal proving the difference before Paulinho's goal late in stoppage time. This result puts Barcelona four points clear at the top of La Liga.
- 2nd Half
- San JoséBeñat68'
- 1st Half
Athletic Club - FC Barcelona
Liga - 28 October 2017
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- End of 2nd Half
FULL TIME: Athletic Club 0-2 Barcelona
- GoalPaulinhoFC Barcelona
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Athletic Bilbao 0 Barcelona 2 (93 mins - Paulinho). That's a result of Athletic's pressing. Barcelona caught them out on the break, with Suarez's saved shot falling into the path of Paulinho, who has the simple tap in from close range.
Is there one more chance left in this match for Athletic Bilbao? They are taking freekicks and throw ins quickly as they attempt to make the most of every last second remaining.
Three minutes of stoppage time to be played at the end of the match.
MESSI OVER THE BAR! There's a silence inside San Mames as Messi lines up a freekick about 20 yards out, but he couldn't get the dip on the effort and the ball drifts over.
Athletic Bilbao are throwing everything they've got at Barcelona here in search of an equaliser, but the Catalans are doing all they can to disrupt the flow of the play. Time wastingm if you will.
ADURIZ HEADER SAVED! The Athletic Bilbao striker gets to the near post and directs a header towards goal, but Ter Stegen was alert to the danger and makes the save to deny him.
Right, now is the time for Athletic Club to really ramp up the pressure on Barcelona. They have had the better of the second half, but they have yet to make that count in front of goal.
- OffIñaki WilliamsAthletic Club
- OnMarkel SusaetaAthletic Club
And a change for the home side as well, with Inaki replaced by Susaeta. Time is running out for them.
- OffAndré GomesFC Barcelona
- OnNélson SemedoFC Barcelona
Barcelona make a change, with Semedo coming on for Gomes. That will surely see Roberto pushed up the field.
Athletic Bilbao still have both Aduriz and Garcia on the pitch. They anticipate that their chances will come from set pieces or a direct style of play. That's where they are at their best.
- Yellow cardSamuel UmtitiFC Barcelona
Umtiti enters the book for time wasting. And then starts sarcastically clapping. He needs to be careful here.
It looks like Valverde is finally about to make a change here. Barcelona have played a risky game in this second half. If only Athletic had been more ruthless in front of goal...
I'm somewhat surprised that Barcelona haven't made a change yet. They are distinctly second best at the moment, with Athletic Bilbao threatening an equaliser. They can't stay this way.
NICE IDEA! Good concept from Athletic Bilbao, with Williams playing the ball to the back post for Lekue. But his lobbed effort across goal only lands on the roof of the Barcelona net.
- Yellow cardPaulinhoFC Barcelona
A booking for Paulinho. Barcelona are starting to look a little ragged, here.
Garcia should have done much better with that. He was presented with the ball by Barcelona 25 yards out from goal, but he was lazy in shooting from there, dragging well wide.
This was always expected to be one of Barcelona's toughest tests of the season, despite Athletic Bilbao's recent form, and so it is turning out. This is a tough place to come.
The home crowd are starting to make a real noise now. They were quietened in the first half after Messi's opener, but they sense that their team is really having a go here. Close to an equaliser.
Valverde needs to make a change here. He needs someone to take control of things in the centre of the pitch, calm the play down. He needs someone like Iniesta on there.
That's a rather peculiar change from Athletic Bilbao. Just as they are starting to make their physicality count against Barca, they have taken off one of their tallest players.
- OffMikel San JoséAthletic Club
- OnBeñatAthletic Club
There's the first change of the match and San Jose has been taken off.
GARCIA WAS CLOSE! That was a much better cross into the Barcelona box. Ter Stegen didn't know whether to come for it or leave it. In the end, Garcia couldn't make contact.
Athletic Bilbao look to have a lot more about them in this half. They are peppering the Barcelona box with crosses, looking to put pressure on Ter Stegen. They want to test him.
ANOTHER NUNEZ BLOCK! Suarez winds up the shot after being played in on goal, but Nunez comes across to make another sliding block. That has become his trademark tonight.
This is a good spell for Athletic Club, but they haven't made the most of it yet. That will be a concern for them. Barcelona will come back into the game. Will they rue those misses?
WILLIAMS SHOT ON GOAL! A clearance falls to Williams only about 12 yards out from goal, but his shot is easy enough for Ter Stegen to deal with at his near post. Needs to be better.
That was a dreadful delivery from the freekick. Iturraspe had so many in the box to aim for, but he somehow managed to miss them all, with the ball drifting out of play without a touch.
Still not happening for Suarez.
- Yellow cardGerard PiquéFC Barcelona
That's a yellow card for Pique. He clattered into Aduriz and he enters the book. He looks baffled.
Well, unlike the first half, Athletic Bilbao have now responded to a spell of Barcelona pressure and now they are back on top. The hosts are giving this a real go. Great to watch.
The freekick is given to Athletic Bilbao, with Umtiti clattering into Kepa. The young keeper hasn't had much to do in this second half, but that was a sore one for him to take.
WHAT A PASS! The ball from Messi to Gomes was fantastic, but the challenge from Nunez was equally fantastic. The young centre back has a great future in the game. Highly rated.
Athletic Bilbao came out for the start of the second half on fire, but just as was the case in the first half, Barcelona are clawing their way into the contest and are dictating things again.
What a pass that was from Ter Stegen to release Suarez into the final third. The striker didn't make the most of the position, but the German is perfect for this Barcelona team.
That's now where you need Aduriz. He was the one crossing the ball into the box, but he needs to be the one getting on the end of the crosses. They needed his twin brother, there.
- Yellow cardSergio BusquetsFC Barcelona
Busquets is the first Barcelona player to be shown a yellow card.
You get the feeling that if Athletic Bilbao are to get themselves back into this game, it will be through a set piece opportunity. That's where they have the advantage over Barcelona.
GARCIA HITS THE BAR! That was inches away from being the equaliser for Athletic Bilbao, with Garcia heading off the bar from a corner kick. Ter Stegen wasn't near that at all.
Messi is in sensational form this evening. I know Ronaldo won The Best award during the week, but in this form it's impossible to look past Messi as the greatest player in the world right now.
MORE MESSI MAGIC! Great play from the Barcelona number 10 sees his wriggle away from the tackles of two defenders before slotting in Gomes, but he tooks too long to get the show away.
Athletic Bilbao started the first half well, but they soon faded. They are far from out of this game, so can they find that level again in this second half? They can cause damage.
- 2nd Half
The second half is under way! Barcelona have a 1-0 lead over Athletic Club.
What did you make of the first half a San Mames? Just how good is Messi at the moment? Is there any way back for Athletic? Do they need to change anything? Tweet me!
- End of 1st Half
HALF TIME: Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Barcelona. Messi's goal is the difference between the two sides at the break. Athletic have played their part in this game, though. They're having a go.
- Yellow cardAnder IturraspeAthletic Club
Yellow card handed out for a foul on Messi right on the edge of the box.
OFF THE CROSSBAR! Yikes. That should have been Barcelona's second of the night. Messi played the ball back to Paulinho, who rattled his shot against the woodwork from about eight yards out.
Barcelona have improved over the course of this first half and there was a sense that they were cranking up the pressure and turning the screw on the hosts. Now that tells in the scoreline.
- GoalLionel MessiFC Barcelona
GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL! Athletic Club 0 Barcelona 1 (36 mins - Lionel Messi). Wonderful goal from Barcelona and Messi! They have the opener! Alba chases a ball to the byline, cutting it back for Messi to sweep home a low finish. Great goal by the Catalans.
SECOND MAN RUNNING! Good idea from Garcia, who tries to lob a ball over the top for Aduriz to chase, but the pass was just a little too strong and Ter Stegen comes off his line.
Slowy but surely Barcelona are taking a grip of this game. Athletic are playing on the counter attack now, with the Catalans dominating possession. They're still struggling for the breakthrough, though.
The home fans aren't very happy with that decision from the referee. Barcelona were awarded a freekick for a perceived foul on Pique by Aduriz. Not much in that, I must admit.
With the exception of the chance for Messi, where he somehow hit the post, Barcelona have been restricted to shots on goal from distance. That will please Athletic Bilbao at this stage.
PAULINHO STRIKES WIDE! The Brazilian midfielder plays a one-two with Messi about 25 yards out before striking at goal, but he drags his shot and the ball flashes wide of the target.
For the first time in the match, Barcelona are taking the chance to control possesson, slowing down the tempo and intensity of the play. And Athletic look glad for it as well. Phew.
Of course, one of the subplots from this game is that Valverde is returning to the place where he made his name as one of the best coaches in the Spanish game. They like him here.
It's remarkable that at 36, Aduriz is still capable of causing a team like Barcelona so many problems. He is the main for Athletic Bilbao. He's the one who causes the most damage.
You can see why Paulinho was favoured in the centr of midfield for this one by Valverde. The Brazilian has the physicality to play in a faster, more furious way. This is a game for him.
There will be a lot of eyes on Kepa this evening. He's highly thought of in the Spanish game, to such an extent that Real Madrid have been linked with a move for the young keeper.
RAKITIC SHOT ON GOAL! Now Barcelona come flying forward on the attack, with Rakitic taking aim from the edge of the box, but Kepa makes the comfortable diving save.
This has been a wonderful start to the match. Athletic and Barcelona are going at each other with everything they've got. It's fast, it's furious and above all, it's hugely entertaining.
Well, if you had chosen two players on both sides to take their chances in front of goal, you would have picked Aduriz and Messi. And yet both have missed sitters early on here.
HOW DIDN'T MESSI SCORE?! Wow, what a miss. Excellent play from Barcelona sees Messi played through on goal. He rounds the goalkeeper but somehow hits the outside of the post and wide.
What a pace this is to the start of the match. Athletic Bilbao have come out flying. They are pressing and probing Barcelona. Can they keep it up? Are their fitness levels up to that standard?
WHAT A SAVE! That's easily the best chance of the match so far. Aduriz was played clean through on goal, but Ter Stegen waited and waited and made the diving save to deny the striker.
NOW WILLIAMS HAS A CHANCE! He should have done better with that. Williams fired a cross right across the face of goal, but there were no takers in red and white. Barca hanging on.
BIG SAVE FROM TER STEGEN! That could have been the opener. Aduriz gets on the end of a cross into the area, powering a header towards goal, but the Barca keeper makes the save.
Athletic Bilbao have started this match well. They are going toe to toe with Barcelona as they look for the breakthrough. This has been an entertaining start to this match at San Mames.
Indeed, as I was saying - Paulinho has proven a lot of his critics wrong since joining Barcelona in the summer. He gives them something different in the middle of the pitch.
ATHLETIC PENALTY CLAIM! Lekue believes that he should have been awarded a penalty kick there. He believes that Umtiti handled the ball from his shot, but the referee says 'no.'
The big team news from a Barcelona point of view is that Roberto has been favoured at right back, with Paulinho playing in the centre of the pitch. He has impressed since joining.
This has been a lively start to the match at San Mames. Athletic Bilbao tend to be strong at home, but they have struggled in recent weeks. They are in the bottom half right now.
CHANCE FOR MESSI! A poor clearing header results in the ball falling at the feet of Messi about 20 yards out, but the Argentine can only direct his effort straight at Kepa.
So with Atletico Madrid dropping points earlier today and Real Madrid facing Girona tomorrow, this is an opportunity for Barcelona to widen the gap at the top of the league table.
- 1st Half
The match is under way at San Mames! It's Athletic Club against Barcelona.
TEAM NEWS: Athletic Bilbao - Kepa, Boveda, Nunez, Laporte, Lekue, San Jose, Iturraspe, Williams, Garcia, Cordoba, Aduriz. /// Barcelona - Ter Stegen, Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba, Busquets, Rakitic, Paulinho, Messi, Suarez, Gomes.
I'm Graham Ruthven and you can catch me on Twitter ahead of the match to let me know your thoughts. Can Athletic Bilbao keep up their good home record against Barca? Tweet me!
Good evening and welcome to Eurosport's LIVE coverage of the Spanish Liga clash between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona. We'll bring you all the action as it happens. Kick off is at 7.45pm.