Marcelino’s reign got off to the perfect start with a Williams goal, but Pedri and Messi x(2) give Barça the win despite Muniain’s late consolation strike
Athletic Club lost 2-3 against FC Barcelona at San Mamés on Wednesday night. It was new head coach Marcelino García Toral‘s first game in charge of the lions.
Barça were superior on the night thanks to fine performances by Pedri and Lionel Messi. The rojiblancos never gave up and with the lions already 1-3 down, Iker Muniain got a consolation goal in the 90th minute. But there wasn’t enough for an equaliser.
Athletic got off to a flying start. In the third minute, a stinging counter-attack saw Raúl García play Iñaki Williams into space and the panther blasted a hole through Barça’s defence before finishing under Marc Andre Ter Stegen.
The lions could have made it two shortly afterwards. A nice exchange between Muniain and Yuri Berchiche down the left saw Yuri bomb into the box and shoot just wide.
In the 7th minute, Athletic paid tribute to Aitor Gandiaga, the ex-Basconia player who recently passed away in a traffic accident.
After the blistering start, Barça started to settle and began to test Unai Simón in the Athletic goal, Dembélé forcing the keeper into a good save.
The equaliser arrived in the 14th minute. Messi sent in a cross, which Frenkie De Jong nodded on for Pedri to head home.
In the 30th minute, Yuri pulled up with a muscular injury and not long later Pedri set up Messi for the first of his two goals.
After the break, Athletic came out with the bit between their teeth. First of all, Williams had an effort which brushed the post as it went wide and less than a minute later Raúl García went close from Ander Capa‘s cross.
However, the visitors always looked threatening, Messi hitting the post twice and having a goal ruled out for offside. Barça’s third came just after the hour mark, a typical curling Messi effort going beyond Simón.
Nonetheless, the lions kept going and Muniain got a consolation goal in injury time after being played through by Alex Berenguer.