Spanish La Liga
BarcelonaBarcelona2Ath BilbaoAthletic Bilbao0

Barcelona 2-0 Athletic Bilbao

By Michael EmonsBBC Sport
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.



Formation 4-4-2

  • 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


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

Ath Bilbao

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 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


  • 8Iturraspe
  • 11Williams
  • 13Herrerín
  • 16Etxeita
  • 20Aduriz
  • 21Vesga
  • 28Córdoba
Santiago Jaime Latre

Match Stats

Home TeamBarcelonaAway TeamAth Bilbao
Shots on Target

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Barcelona 2, Athletic Club 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Barcelona 2, Athletic Club 0.

  3. Post update

    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.

  4. Post update

    Foul by André Gomes (Barcelona).

  5. Post update

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

  6. Post update

    Foul by Ivan Rakitic (Barcelona).

  7. Post update

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

  8. Post update

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

  9. Post update

    Foul by Ander Iturraspe (Athletic Club).

  10. Post update

    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.

  11. Post update

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

  12. Post update

    Foul by André Gomes (Barcelona).

  13. Post update

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

  14. Post update

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

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Barcelona. André Gomes replaces Philippe Coutinho.

  16. Post update

    Corner, Athletic Club. Conceded by Sergi Roberto.

  17. Post update

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

  18. Post update

    Corner, Barcelona. Conceded by Enric Saborit.

  19. Post update

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

  20. Post update

    Foul by Enric Saborit (Athletic Club).

Scores, Results & Fixtures

Sunday 18th March 2018

As It Stood

2Atl Madrid29197349143564
3Real Madrid29186573334060
8Real Betis29134124953-443
10Celta Vigo29116124542339
13Ath Bilbao29811102933-435
15Real Sociedad2996145152-133
18Las Palmas2956182158-3721
19Dep La Coruña2948172660-3420
View full Spanish La Liga table

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