Spanish La Liga
Barcelona2Ath Bilbao1

Barcelona 2-1 Athletic Bilbao

Lionel Messi shoots

Barcelona came from behind to avoid a fourth straight loss and beat Champions League-chasing Athletic Bilbao.

The victory keeps alive their slim hopes of defending their title as they sit four points behind Atletico Madrid.

Both sides hit the woodwork before Aritz Aduriz scored the 50th-minute opener for the visitors from outside the box following Marc Bartra's error.

Pedro levelled from close range and Lionel Messi scored the winner two minutes later with a low free-kick.

A lot of pre-match talk was about the future of Barca head coach Gerardo Martino following a disastrous eight-day spell.

They were knocked out of the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, lost to Granada in the league last Saturday and then lost in Wednesday's Copa del Rey final to Real Madrid.

Martino has refused to speak about his future beyond this season and admitted his side only had a "slight" chance of retaining their league title.

Even with this comeback victory, it is likely to be a first season for Barcelona without any major trophy since 2007-08.

They started reasonably at the Nou Camp with Athletic's impressive goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz pulling off saves from Pedro and Messi.

Messi, who had not scored in those three defeats, had a goal disallowed for offside when he turned in Andres Iniesta's curling pass.

But Athletic showed their Champions League credentials and were agonisingly close to taking the lead when Aduriz's overhead kick hit the post with Markel Susaeta forcing Jose Manuel Pinto into a good save from the rebound.

Alexis Sanchez hit the crossbar at the other end when, from close range, he had the whole goal to aim for, before Iraizoz denied the Chilean and Pedro.

Early in the second half fourth-placed Athletic took the lead when Aduriz scored his 10th goal in eight games after Bartra failed to deal with the ball.

Moments later they could have made it 2-0 but Susaeta was marginally offside when he put the ball into the net after Javier Mascherano's mistake.

And after Pedro and Messi missed chances, the hosts finally got their breakthrough in the 72nd minute.

Dani Alves picked out Alexis Sanchez, whose scuffed shot went straight to Pedro, who calmly converted from close range.

And almost immediately they had a free-kick inches outside the box after Oscar De Marcos brought down Messi. The Argentine stepped up to fire the free-kick in the direction of keeper Iraizoz, who saw the ball late and let it squeeze past him.

They could have had a late third when Christian Tello poked the ball past Iraizoz with De Marcos clearing off the line.

And in injury-time he was almost made to pay when the ball fell to Mikel Rico but Mascherano did brilliantly to keep out the goalbound shot with Pinto well-beaten.

Barcelona are four points behind Atletico Madrid, whom they host on the final day. Real Madrid, who have a game in hand on both clubs, are another two points off Barca.

La Liga run-in
Atletico MadridReal MadridBarcelona
26-27 AprilValencia (A)Osasuna (H)Villarreal (A)
3-4 MayLevante (A)Valencia (H)Getafe (H)
7 MayValladolid (A)
10-11 MayMalaga (H)Celta Vigo (A)Elche (A)
18 MayBarcelona (A)Espanyol (H)Atl Madrid (H)

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 13Pinto Colorado
  • 22Dani Alves
  • 21Adriano
  • 17Song
  • 15BartraBooked at 21mins
  • 14Mascherano
  • 6XaviSubstituted forFábregasat 70'minutes
  • 8Iniesta
  • 10Messi
  • 9SánchezSubstituted forTelloat 87'minutes
  • 7PedroBooked at 79mins

Substitutes

  • 2Montoya
  • 4Fábregas
  • 19Afellay
  • 20Tello
  • 24Sergi
  • 25Olazábal Paredes
  • 26Gómez Sola

Ath Bilbao

  • 1Iraizoz
  • 10De MarcosBooked at 73mins
  • 24Balenziaga
  • 5MoránSubstituted forRico Morenoat 64'minutes
  • 6San José
  • 4Laporte
  • 14SusaetaSubstituted forToqueroat 86'minutes
  • 8IturraspeBooked at 7minsSubstituted forEtxebarria Urkiagaat 83'minutes
  • 20Aduriz
  • 21Herrera AgüeraBooked at 71mins
  • 19Muniain

Substitutes

  • 2Toquero
  • 7Etxebarria Urkiaga
  • 12Albizua
  • 13Herrerín Buisán
  • 15Iraola
  • 16Etxeita
  • 17Rico Moreno
Referee:
Juan Martínez Munuera
Attendance:
57,090

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamAth Bilbao
Possession
Home56%
Away44%
Shots
Home18
Away11
Shots on Target
Home8
Away4
Corners
Home9
Away4
Fouls
Home16
Away17

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 2, Athletic Club 1.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 2, Athletic Club 1.

Foul by Adriano (Barcelona).

Mikel Rico (Athletic Club) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Offside, Barcelona. Lionel Messi tries a through ball, but Adriano is caught offside.

Attempt blocked. Mikel Rico (Athletic Club) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Mikel Balenziaga with a cross.

Attempt missed. Cristian Tello (Barcelona) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Alexandre Song following a fast break.

Foul by Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona).

Ander (Athletic Club) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Cristian Tello replaces Alexis Sánchez.

Substitution

Substitution, Athletic Club. Gaizka Toquero replaces Markel Susaeta.

Attempt missed. Javier Mascherano (Barcelona) right footed shot from outside the box is just a bit too high following a fast break.

Substitution

Substitution, Athletic Club. Beñat replaces Ander Iturraspe.

Foul by Pedro (Barcelona).

Markel Susaeta (Athletic Club) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Francesc Fábregas (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Ander (Athletic Club).

Attempt blocked. Ander (Athletic Club) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Ander Iturraspe.

Booking

Pedro (Barcelona) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Pedro (Barcelona).

Iker Muniain (Athletic Club) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Pedro (Barcelona).

Óscar De Marcos (Athletic Club) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona).

Mikel Rico (Athletic Club) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Attempt saved. Markel Susaeta (Athletic Club) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Foul by Dani Alves (Barcelona).

Gorka Iraizoz (Athletic Club) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, Athletic Club. Conceded by Javier Mascherano.

Adriano (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Óscar De Marcos (Athletic Club).

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 2, Athletic Club 1. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) from a free kick with a left footed shot to the bottom left corner.

Booking

Óscar De Marcos (Athletic Club) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Lionel Messi (Barcelona) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Óscar De Marcos (Athletic Club).

Goal!

Goal! Barcelona 1, Athletic Club 1. Pedro (Barcelona) right footed shot from very close range to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Alexis Sánchez.

Booking

Ander (Athletic Club) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Andrés Iniesta (Barcelona) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Ander (Athletic Club).

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Francesc Fábregas replaces Xavi.

goal