Depay rescues draw for Barcelona in Bilbao

BILBAO:

Barcelona got a torrid time by Athletic Bilbao however escaped from their journey to San Mames with some extent as Memphis Depay’s very good late strike secured a 1-1 draw for the Catalans on Saturday.

Depay discovered the web with a wonderful left-foot half-volley 15 minutes from time within the Basque Country for his first purpose in La Liga since shifting to Barcelona from Lyon.

Ronald Koeman’s facet had impressed of their first match of the post-Lionel Messi period as they beat Real Sociedad 4-2 final weekend, however they have been lucky to depart with some extent from this sport and it was not possible to keep away from questions concerning the Argentine at full-time.

“I don’t like to always talk about the same thing but he is the best in the world and the opposition might be more afraid if Messi is there,” Koeman admitted.

“For us too, if there’s a move to Leo, usually he would not lose the ball, and at present we gave the ball away too typically within the first half.

“You notice it, but that’s how it is, it can’t be changed now.”

It was a troublesome evening for Barcelona’s defence specifically, with Gerard Pique coming off after half an hour and Eric Garcia being despatched off in stoppage time for bringing down Inaki Williams.

Former Manchester City defender Garcia acquired information of his grandfather’s demise earlier than the match and struggled all through the 90 minutes, permitting Inigo Martinez to get away from him to move within the opener early within the second half.

“He is a great professional to play so well in a game after the death of his grandfather. We wish him all the best in his personal situation,” mentioned Koeman, who insisted the draw was the best outcome.

Athletic, although, will really feel they need to have gained regardless of lacking a number of key gamers, amongst them goalkeeper Unai Simon, who has not featured in the beginning of this season after serving to Spain reach the Euro 2020 semi-finals after which the ultimate of the Tokyo Olympics.

Barcelona have been unchanged from their opening victory that means one other begin for Pedri, the sensible younger midfielder who additionally performed at Euro 2020 and the Olympics and is now set to get a two-week vacation.

Martin Braithwaite, who netted twice in opposition to Real Sociedad, missed an early sitter for the guests when he blazed over after nice play by Depay.

Athletic, with 11,000 of their followers allowed into the 53,000-capacity San Mames for this sport as coronavirus restrictions are regularly loosened in La Liga, then noticed Oihan Sancet flip and crash a shot off the crossbar from 12 yards out.

Pique then got here off to get replaced by Ronald Araujo, suggesting Koeman shouldn’t have performed the centre-back who had reportedly been combating a minor harm earlier than the sport.

Athletic have been looking for revenge for his or her 4-Zero loss to Messi’s Barcelona within the Copa del Rey last final April they usually went forward within the 50th minute when Martinez attacked a nook fairly magnificently, getting forward of Garcia to divert the ball into the far nook.

While Garcia performed for Spain on the European Championship, fellow centre-back Martinez opted to not be a part of Luis Enrique’s squad as a result of he wasn’t “at 100 percent physically or mentally”.

Koeman responded by withdrawing Braithwaite and Pedri and sending on Sergi Roberto in addition to Yusuf Demir, the 18-year-old Austrian worldwide signed in July on mortgage from Rapid Vienna.

Frenkie de Jong hit the bar with a superb tried lob earlier than Depay levelled 1 / 4 of an hour from time, controlling Sergi Roberto’s ball over the faucet and crashing a superb strike previous goalkeeper Julen Agirrezabala at his near submit.

Garcia then denied Athletic an opportunity of a last-gasp winner as he chopped down Williams simply outdoors the world.

Elsewhere, Carlos Soler’s late penalty allowed Valencia to depart Granada with a 1-1 draw, whereas final season’s Europa League winners Villarreal have been held 0-Zero at Espanyol.

Promoted Mallorca are degree with Barcelona and Valencia on 4 factors after successful 1-Zero at Alaves with a late Fer Nino purpose.

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