Athletic Club v FC Barcelona – La Liga Santander
Athletic Bilbao will be kicking themselves not to have come away with the win after their dominant display against the Catalan giants.
In a drab first half that offered little spectacle, the hosts were on the front pedal, but failed to convert their large spell of dominance into goal scoring chances.
Barcelona had the best chance of the first half when Martin Braithwaite blasted his close-range shot well over the crossbar after mesmerizing footwork from new signing Memphis Depay.
Athletic Bilbao broke the deadlock five minutes into the second half as Iñigo Martínez headed in Iker Muniain’s whipped-in corner kick.
Ronald Koeman’s side upped the ante there on, constantly probing Bilbao’s defenders in search of a way back into the game.
Depay came up trumps for Barcelona as he scored the equalizer with 15 minutes remaining on the clock. Sergi Roberto put the Dutchman through on goal with a fine pass before the former Lyon man left Athletico Bilbao shot-stopper Julen Agirrezabala for dead with a fierce stroke.
Barcelona will now look to take the positives from the game and quickly return to winning ways when they welcome Getafe to the Camp Nou next Sunday.
Barcelona player ratings
The Brazilian shot-stopper made a few saves to keep Barcelona in the game, but was eventually beaten by a neat header from Iñigo Martínez shortly after the break.
Sergiño Dest: 6.5/10
The energetic full-back bombed to and fro on the right flank as he constantly looked to create something in attack, while fulfilling his defensive duties diligently. He was replaced by Emerson in the 82nd minute.
Eric Garcia: 6/10
The former Manchester City defender put on a decent performance at the heart of the Barcelona defense. While he often struggled against the pace and physicality of Iñaki Williams, he held his ground when called upon. The young Spaniard picked up a late red card for a professional last-man tackle to deny Atletico Bilbao the winner and his sacrifice might have earned Barcelona a point.
Gerard Pique: 6.5/10
Despite playing for just half an hour, the veteran defender’s contributions at the center of the defense were evident. He made a few interceptions to keep the Bilbao attackers at bay before he was hauled off with a 31st-minute injury.
Jordi Alba: 6.5/10
The Barcelona man was a constant threat at the attacking end of the pitch as he marauded forward to provide an extra man in attack. However, he failed to create anything meaningful in front and occasionally struggled to impose himself defensively.
Frenkie de Jong: 7.5/10
De Jong was one of Barcelona’s bright sparks in the game. He injected life into the side in the second half as he expertly kept play ticking with accurate passes and threatening runs. He created two chances, completed all dribble attempts and won six of his nine duels.
Sergio Busquets: 6/10
The veteran midfielder provided a solid defensive shield in midfield but offered nothing else. He was easily beaten by Atletico Bilbao’s press on occasions and struggled to impact the game in attack.
The tireless midfielder was the engine room for Barcelona as he kept play ticking in the center of the park. His intelligent reading of the game was on show. He showed extreme maturity for an 18-year-old. He was hooked off after 62 minutes for Sergi Roberto.
Antoine Griezmann: 6/10
Once again Griezmann showed his high work rate by popping up all over the pitch to help out his teammates. While he was defensively solid, his impact at the attacking end was next to nothing as he managed just one blocked shot all game.
Memphis Depay: 8/10
Newly-signed Memphis Depay continues to thrill Barcelona fans with his superb attacking contributions. He was the visitors’ most threatening player in the game, while also leaving a few dazzling highlights with brilliant skill and footwork. He grabbed his debut Barcelona goal in the 75th minute to force a share of the spoils with a fierce shot into the Atletico Bilbao roof.
Martin Braithwaite: 5.5/10
Braithwaite failed to pick up where he left off last time out as he struggled to impact the game in attack. The Dane bottled a glorious chance early in the game as he fired his close range shot high into the San Mames stands.
Player ratings for Barcelona substitutes
Ronald Araujo: 6/10
The Uruguayan was called upon by Ronald Koeman in the 30th minute after Gerard Pique picked up a game-ending injury. He paired brilliantly with Eric Garcia and was defensively decent.
Sergi Roberto: 7/10
He injected energy and drive after coming on for Pedri and helped Barcelona grab a point when he threaded his pass into the path of Depay for the equalizer.
Yusuf Demir: 5.5/10
The Austrian youngster replaced struggling Martin Braithwaite shortly after the hour mark but failed to make a telling impact in the game.
Emerson Royal: 5.5/10
He came on for Dest with 15 minutes remaining on the clock and showed glimpses of quality.