Spanish La Liga
Barcelona2Ath Bilbao0

Barcelona 2-0 Athletic Bilbao

Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi is the top goalscorer in La Liga in 2017-18 with 25 goals

Barcelona maintained their unbeaten La Liga record this season as they cruised to victory over Athletic Bilbao.

The hosts scored after only eight minutes when Paco Alcacer, who replaced the suspended Luis Suarez, steered in Jordi Alba's pull-back.

Lionel Messi made it 2-0 with a low 20-yard strike following good work by team-mate Ousmane Dembele.

Philippe Coutinho also hit the crossbar twice and Paulinho hit the post for La Liga's leaders.

Barcelona are 11 points clear at the top of the table and second-placed Atletico Madrid lost 2-1 at Villarreal on Sunday.

Antoine Griezmann's penalty put Atletico ahead, but two goals in the last eight minutes from Enes Unal gave Villareal the win. Atletico also finished with 10 men as Vitolo was dismissed in injury time.

No team has gone an entire 38-game La Liga campaign without defeat; Barcelona have nine league games remaining, having won 23 and drawn six of 29 matches played so far.

The record for an unbeaten run from the start of a La Liga season is 32 games, set by Real Sociedad in 1979-80.

"We only have 27 points left (to play for) and we will try to win them all," said Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde. "Carrying on like this will help us reach our objective.

"We dominated in the first half and created lots of goalscoring opportunities: we were brilliant.

"In the second half, we were solid. The team and the players are showing that we attack and defend all together."

A routine day for Barcelona

Paco Alcacer
Paco Alcacer scored his sixth Barcelona goal of the season but his first in 2018

Barcelona missed out on the league title to Real Madrid last season, but are on course to win the treble of La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League in 2017-18.

On Wednesday, they secured a 3-0 win over Chelsea to seal a 4-1 aggregate victory in the last 16 of the Champions League and Valverde's side will be confident of overcoming quarter-final opponents Roma.

Barca have also reached the Copa del Rey final, in which they will play Sevilla on 21 April, and are heading towards their 25th La Liga title.

Athletic offered little at the Nou Camp and Messi forced a fine save by away goalkeeper Kepa before Alcacer opened the scoring shortly afterwards.

From then on, it became a matter of how many Barcelona would get, as Kepa denied both Messi and Dembele, and Coutinho hit the bar for the first time.

Messi then scored his 25th La Liga goal of the season with a low strike.

The hosts had further first-half chances, but Coutinho hit the woodwork again after fine link-up play with Messi and ex-Tottenham man Paulinho shot against the outside of the post.

Athletic, who went out of the Europa League at the last-16 stage to Marseille on Thursday, improved after the break as their best chances fell to Inigo Lekue and Sabin Merino, but both men shot wide.

Barcelona have only conceded 13 goals from their 29 La Liga games in 2017-18, and scored 74 times.

Line-ups

Barcelona

  • 1ter Stegen
  • 20Roberto
  • 3Piqué
  • 23UmtitiBooked at 17mins
  • 18Alba
  • 11DembéléBooked at 39minsSubstituted forIniestaat 64'minutes
  • 15Paulinho
  • 4Rakitic
  • 14CoutinhoSubstituted forAndré Gomesat 85'minutes
  • 10Messi
  • 17AlcácerSubstituted forVidalat 74'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Iniesta
  • 13Cillessen
  • 19Digne
  • 21André Gomes
  • 22Vidal
  • 24Mina
  • 26Aleñá

Ath Bilbao

  • 1Arrizabalaga
  • 18De Marcos
  • 12Núñez
  • 4Martínez
  • 3Saborit
  • 6San José
  • 7EtxebarriaSubstituted forIturraspeat 45'minutes
  • 14SusaetaSubstituted forWilliamsat 63'minutes
  • 22GarcíaBooked at 31mins
  • 15LekueBooked at 40mins
  • 19MerinoSubstituted forAdurizat 71'minutes

Substitutes

  • 8Iturraspe
  • 11Williams
  • 13Herrerín
  • 16Etxeita
  • 20Aduriz
  • 21Vesga
  • 28Córdoba
Referee:
Santiago Jaime Latre
Attendance:
82,312

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamAth Bilbao
Possession
Home59%
Away41%
Shots
Home17
Away10
Shots on Target
Home9
Away3
Corners
Home6
Away5
Fouls
Home7
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Barcelona 2, Athletic Club 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Barcelona 2, Athletic Club 0.

Attempt saved. Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Íñigo Martínez.

Foul by André Gomes (Barcelona).

Óscar De Marcos (Athletic Club) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona).

Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) wins a free kick on the left wing.

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

Foul by Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Club).

Attempt missed. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ivan Rakitic.

Offside, Athletic Club. Ander Iturraspe tries a through ball, but Raul García is caught offside.

Foul by André Gomes (Barcelona).

Unai Núñez (Athletic Club) wins a free kick on the right wing.

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

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. André Gomes replaces Philippe Coutinho.

Corner, Athletic Club. Conceded by Sergi Roberto.

Attempt saved. Lionel Messi (Barcelona) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Enric Saborit.

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

Foul by Enric Saborit (Athletic Club).

Offside, Athletic Club. Íñigo Martínez tries a through ball, but Aritz Aduriz is caught offside.

Corner, Athletic Club. Conceded by Gerard Piqué.

Attempt blocked. Aritz Aduriz (Athletic Club) with an attempt from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Raul García with a cross.

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Aleix Vidal replaces Paco Alcácer.

Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Unai Núñez.

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

Foul by Mikel San José (Athletic Club).

Attempt blocked. Iñaki Williams (Athletic Club) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Enric Saborit.

Substitution

Substitution, Athletic Club. Aritz Aduriz replaces Sabin Merino.

Corner, Athletic Club. Conceded by Samuel Umtiti.

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

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

Foul by Sabin Merino (Athletic Club).

Substitution

Substitution, Barcelona. Andrés Iniesta replaces Ousmane Dembélé.

Foul by Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona).

Raul García (Athletic Club) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Athletic Club. Iñaki Williams replaces Markel Susaeta.

Attempt missed. Enric Saborit (Athletic Club) left footed shot from outside the box is too high. Assisted by Ander Iturraspe.

Attempt saved. Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lionel Messi.

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

goal

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 18th March 2018

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Barcelona29236074136175
2Atl Madrid29197349143564
3Real Madrid29186573334060
4Valencia29185657312659
5Villarreal29145104033747
6Sevilla29143123744-745
7Girona29127104342143
8Real Betis29134124953-443
9Getafe29109103527839
10Celta Vigo29116124542339
11Eibar29116123643-739
12Leganés29106132535-1036
13Ath Bilbao29811102933-435
14Espanyol29811102637-1135
15Real Sociedad2996145152-133
16Alavés29101182645-1931
17Levante29512122543-1827
18Las Palmas2956182158-3721
19Dep La Coruña2948172660-3420
20Malaga2935211645-2914
View full Spanish La Liga table

Top Stories